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Afghan Police Secure Towr Kham Border

American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, April 10, 2006 – The Afghanistan National Police made the Towr Kham border crossing point fully operational recently with 100 percent immigration identification and commerce checks, Combined Forces Command Afghanistan officials reported.

Towr Kham is on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Temporary barriers to separate and guide traffic were added, and the administrative offices and the evidence storage facility were redesigned, officials said.

Within the ANP, the responsibility for securing international borders from threat of criminal and terrorist acts rest with the border police. Working with Afghan customs officials, the border police also ensure compliance with the laws that will generate the needed revenue to support Afghanistan's redevelopment.

The border police's goal is to help Afghanistan develop a stable rule of law and control of their borders, and the overall performance of those assigned to Towr Kham has improved dramatically, officials said. Significant achievements include notable increases in pedestrian and vehicle contacts, evidentiary seizures, detentions and arrests, and a growing cooperative spirit between border and customs officials.

"Every person in Afghanistan just wants to have security, and right now we have security for the first time," said Maj. Qahar, Towr Kham border crossing point commander for the border police. "This is a very important improvement. We have started to generate income for the government of Afghanistan. Now the government should start to use this money to help the people and improve the overall situation for Afghanistan."

The border police officers are given advanced, job-specific training related to working at the crossing point, such as conducting pedestrian stops and searches, interviewing, checking documents, making arrests and training tactically.

More than 200 1st Brigade border police officers have benefited from this training curriculum. In addition, the commanders will complete a one-week leadership development course, and officers are currently attending the field training officer course.

Also, numerous interim procedures have been implemented. Border police officers have specific duties and responsibilities more in line with the democratic, community-oriented model of policing. Perhaps most significant, however, is the new emphasis placed on the abatement of corruption, Qahar said.

The border police are making a priority of ending the practice of illegal tariff collection, or "reshwat" -- bribes. Furthermore, the reporting and documentation of activities and logistic support are developing toward increased accountability.

"We estimate there is an 80 to 100 percent increase in revenue at customs because we have stopped the illegal trade that was free flowing through the Towr Kham gate. All of the border crossings in Afghanistan should implement what we are doing at Towr Kham," Qahar said.

"I am completely satisfied with the entire project at Towr Kham and will continue to work with the mentors and do it in good faith and honestly for Afghans," he said.

(From a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release.)

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