The Afghan police and customs are partnering to boost security and trade at the Hairatan border crossing point.
13 MAY 2012 | BALKH, AFGHANISTAN
With the support of USAID, customs and police officers on Afghanistan’s border with Uzbekistan started conducting joint examinations of vehicles, strengthening control of borders and reducing opportunities for corruption and other illegal activities.
With a 5,500-kilometer border that often snakes through remote and volatile territory, Afghanistan faces the challenge of in-creasing trade with neighboring countries while preventing illicit activities such as drug trafficking. A partnership between the country’s two key border agencies at the busy hub of Hairatan in northern Afghanistan is serving as a model for border man-agement that contributes to a thriving licit economy.
The partnership, called the Border Management Model, is based on international best practices and establishes clear roles and responsibilities for the Afghanistan Customs Depart-ment, which is responsible for cross-border trade, and the Af-ghan Border Police, which is charged with immigration and national security at the borders. The model also encourages information sharing between the two entities to stem corruption, smuggling and other illegal activities.
With the support of USAID the model has piloted at Hairatan, a bustling transport hub on Afghanistan’s border with Uzbekistan, since September 2011. Under the pilot, customs and police of-ficers conduct joint examinations of vehicles, strengthening control of borders and reducing opportunities for corruption and other illegal activities. In addition, customs officials have ex-panded their working hours to operate 24 hours, seven days a week, allowing for increased trade.
"Police and customs worked separately before, but now they work together," said Mohammad Zahir, a customs deputy at Hairatan. "This is improving trade and security at borders."
Afghanistan met an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bench-mark in June 2011 when key ministries signed off on the model. With the pilot’s success, Afghanistan is preparing to meet another benchmark by rolling out the model to two additional sites – Sher Khan Bandar on Afghanistan’s border with Tajikis-tan and Islam Qala on the border with Iran – by mid-2012. The government will eventually implement the model nationwide.
"This has shown that the police and customs can accomplish more by working together as partners," said Mohammad Za-hour, a colonel with the Hairatan border police.
Last updated: January 07, 2014