UNODC partners with Pakistan to make the Border Liaison Office Torkham fully operational

The inaugural meeting between members of the first UNODC sponsored inter-agency Border Liaison Office (BLO) in Pakistan was held on Tuesday, 12 April 2011, only 50 yards from the Torkham gate. Located in the Khyber Agency of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, Torkham is one of the busiest ports of entry for people and goods between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The inaugural meeting follows the opening of the facility that took place on 15 February 2011.

BLO Torkham is a partnership of the Frontier Corps (FC) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Political Administration Khyber Agency, Pakistan Customs, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Anti Narcotics Force (ANF), and the National Logistics Cell (NLC). It is equipped with, inter-alia, computers, communications equipment, a Computer Based Training (CBT) centre, drug and precursor testing kits and safety equipment. A BLO on the Afghanistan side at Torkham has also been set-up.

"The BLO has now become fully operational, enabling the Pakistani law enforcement agencies to enhance border management at the Torkham crossing point through sharing of real-time information amongst each other, as well as across the border," said Saqib Khan representing UNODC Pakistan. Mr. Ross Hynes, High Commissioner of Canada to Pakistan, also visited the BLO.

"The BLO will serve as an umbrella for better inter-agency/cross-border cooperation and we will be able to act more proactively against drug traffickers and other transnational criminal groups", said Major Amanullah of the Frontier Corps of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Brigadier Irfan Kiyani, also of the Frontier Corps, added "BLO Torkham is now a reality, which fulfils Pakistan's commitment towards strengthening regional cooperation with the neighbouring Afghanistan."

Mr. Hynes thanked UNODC Pakistan for successfully implementing the BLO concept in a difficult area and reiterated expectation that the BLO would help the concerned Pakistani law enforcement agencies in terms of improving law enforcement and counter-narcotics in Torkham.

The BLO Torkham is designed to offer a location for representatives on either side of the border to meet frequently to exchange information and criminal-intelligence on cross-border movement of drug traffickers as well as other transnational criminal groups.