UNODC Pakistan Technically Facilitates the Pakistan-Afghanistan Integrated Border Management Workshop at TADOC Ankara  



TADOC Ankara, 10 August 2017.  The 7 th Pakistan-Afghanistan Integrated Border Management Workshop was technically facilitated by the UNODC Country Office Pakistan (COPAK) from 8-10 August 2017. Supported by the Government of Japan, the event encouraged a close partnership between the Governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan under the framework of the UNODC-sponsored Triangular Initiative.  

Welcoming the delegates Mr. Cesar Guedes, Representative UNODC Pakistan, expressed his satisfaction and pleasure in bringing concerned officials from the two neighboring countries across the table within a year of the previous meeting in Abu Dhabi, 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 organized crimes in the region', stated Mr. Guedes. 'It is an opportunity for the world to better understand the complexity of the border management and counter-narcotics issues in the region', he added. 

Mr. Tujay Ankara, Deputy Head KOC (Anti Smuggling and Organized Crime Agency, Turkey), expressed his pleasure at hosting this event for Pakistan and Afghanistan, both of which enjoyed excellent relations with Turkey. He welcomed the delegates, and hoped that the workshop would provide an opportunity  for both countries to discuss border management issues in detail. He offered in addition to assist in future training and workshops, and to explore other ways in which Turkey could provide support.

Leading the Pakistan delegation Mr. Mansoor Ahmed Khan, Director General (Afghanistan), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan, thanked UNODC for its role in technically facilitating discussions between the two brotherly countries. He stated, 'It is a persistent need that we make our borders more secure against the menace of drug trafficking, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and smuggling of contrabands'. Mr. Khan added that 'It is an opportunity provided by UNODC to the two neighbours'.,He expressed the Government of Pakistan's sincere desire to move forward in cooperation with Afghanistan on combatting drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, and in strengthening the existing mechanism on border management, as positive contributions which would impact regional security, and further the development and future prosperity of the peoples of both countries. 

General Saifi, Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan, Head of the Afghan Delegation, stressed the importance of raising Afghanistan's operational capacity in effectively combatting drug trafficking and other transnational organized crimes. He stated that, 'We need to continue building a close partnership with Pakistan, with the support of UNODC. While it is satisfying to interact with our Pakistani counterparts at this forum, a joint and effective response against the criminal elements would ensure stability and economic growth in the region'.  Gen. Saifi demonstrated a keen interest in improving border cooperation, and in strengthening mechanisms to interdict drug trafficking and other transnational organized crimes. 

This technical interaction was attended by officials from Pakistan's Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence Production, and Narcotics Control; the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Secretariat Peshawar; the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF); Pakistan Customs at Torkham; the Civil Administration Chaman; and the Home Department, Government of Balochistan. The Afghan Delegation comprised officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Afghan Border Police, Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan, and the 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 decision-makers at the highest level. 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 its assistance in enhancing Afghanistan's technical expertise through joint specialized trainings, and connectivity to its Customs Electronic Data Interface; examining the possibility of providing access to Afghan officials to WeBoc (the Pakistan Customs online management system); and, according to priority, clearing empty containers at Torkham. Additionally the two delegations concurred on the necessity of organizing this workshop on a regular basis to assess the progress made in implementing the adopted recommendations. The two sides also agreed to hold an experts' meeting on Control Delivery operations at ANFA to explore the possibility of conducting CD operations. Pakistan and Afghanistan further agreed on a meeting between the BLOs of the two sides. Both sides concurred on working for the implementation of these recommendations on an urgent basis.

At the conclusion of the exercise, the two heads of delegation stressed that the problems posed by illicit drug production and trafficking, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, and smuggling of contraband, remained a responsibility shared by the international community. The series of Pakistan-Afghanistan integrated border management workshops have assisted UNODC in better understanding the complexity of the challenges being faced by Afghanistan and Pakistan in. operational capacity building; and in promoting inter-agency and regional cooperation.