UNODC Country Office in Pakistan facilitates the Pakistan-Afghanistan Integrated Border Management Workshop  

Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates, 30 November 2016

The 6 th Pakistan-Afghanistan Integrated Border Management Workshop was facilitated by the UNODC Country Office Pakistan (COPAK) from 28 to 30 November 2016. Supported by the Government of Japan, the event strengthened the close partnership between the Governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan, under the framework of the UNODC-sponsored Triangular Initiative.  

While making his welcome speech, Mr Cesar Guedes, UNODC COPAK Representative, expressed pleasure in bringing officials from the two neighbouring countries across the table after a gap of approximately a year and a half, with the aim of discussing border management challenges and finding mutually acceptable solutions. "This gathering of policy and operational level counterparts reflects the resolve and commitment by both governments to address the common challenges posed by the scourge of drug trafficking and other transnational organised crime-related activities in the region," said Mr Guedes. In addition he added, "It is an opportunity for the world to better understand the complexities of both border management and counter-narcotics issues in the region". 

Leading the Pakistani delegation, Rear Admiral Mukhtar Khan from the Ministry of Defence thanked UNODC COPAK for the technical role it played in facilitating discussions between the two brotherly countries. He remarked that, "It is of the utmost importance that we make our borders more secure against the menace of drug trafficking, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and the smuggling of contrabands," and "UNODC COPAK has provided an opportunity to the regional counterparts to make positive contributions, which will positively impact regional security, development and future prosperity for the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan".

Colonel Mohammad Tahir Eidukhil, from the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan, headed the Afghan delegation. He stressed the importance of raising Afghanistan's operational capacities in order to effectively combat drug trafficking and other activities associated with transnational organised crime. Colonel Eidukhil stated "We need to continue building a close partnership with Pakistan, with the continued support of the UNODC. While it is satisfying to interact with our Pakistani counterparts at this forum, a joint and effective response against the region's criminal elements would ensure stability and economic growth".

This technical interaction was attended by officials from Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control, Federal Board of Revenue, Federally Administered Tribal Areas Secretariat in Peshawar, Frontier Corps of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, Anti Narcotics Force, Pakistan Customs, National Database and Registration Authority, Civil Administration of Chaman, and the Pakistan Coast Guard. The Afghan delegation comprised officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Afghan Border Police, Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan and Afghan Customs.

Comprehensive discussions were held between the regional counterparts over a period of three days, culminating in the development of draft recommendations for consideration by leading decision-makers. The thematic areas included capacity-building through the provision of operational equipment and joint training, risk-profiling, information-sharing at strategic and tactical levels, simultaneous interdiction operations, and backtracking investigations. Pakistan offered to enhance Afghanistan's technical expertise through joint specialised training courses and connectivity to its Customs Electronic Data Interface. Additionally, the two delegations concurred on the necessity to organise this workshop on a regular basis in order to assess the progress made in implementing the recommendations adopted. 

Addressing the problems posed by illicit drug production and trafficking, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, and the smuggling of contraband remains a responsibility shared by the international community. The series of Pakistan-Afghanistan integrated border management workshops has helped the UNODC in better understanding the complexity of the challenges being faced by Afghanistan and Pakistan. This aids in the purpose of research and analysis, operational capacity-building, and promoting inter-agency and regional cooperation.