Equipping Ai Khanem for effective border management 

Kabul, Afghanistan – UNOPS handed over the first package of border equipment for the northeast province of Takhar on 7 March. 

Ai Khanem border crossing
Scanning equipment for the crossing

The package for the Ai Khanem border crossing includes vehicles, motorbikes, an X-ray machine and doorframe metal detectors – all critical items for trade facilitation and law enforcement in the area. The Afghanistan Customs Department, which sits within the Ministry of Finance, and the Afghan Border Police, within the Ministry of Interior, received the equipment.

Mubin Shah, Deputy Minister of Customs and Revenue said: “We are very happy to receive the vehicles, motorcycles and scanning equipment for Ai Khanem border crossing. The equipment will assist border police to better control the border. Customs enforcement will be better equipped to conduct patrols in the border area and prevent smuggling activities.”

Ai Khanem border crossing
Vehicles for Ai Khanem border crossing

The project is funded by the Government of Japan and implemented by UNOPS, working closely with the customs department, the border police and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The project focuses on two components:

1) Construction of crucial border facilities in Ai Khanem, such as office and accommodation buildings and warehousing

2) Provision of equipment and training for customs and border police officers

In the face of deteriorating security in the north, controlling the Afghan-Tajik border is increasingly difficult and involves tackling insurgencies and various illicit cross-border activities. Improved customs control will help realize Takhar province’s great potential as an important route for legitimate trade and also increase national revenue collection.

UNOPS is currently in the process of procuring a number of items to compose the second package: a weighbridge and forklifts, furniture and office equipment, drug detection gear, communications equipment and scan and search technology.

The construction component of the project is nearly complete and the handover of all buildings is planned for April 2011, while various training courses for customs and border police officers are underway.

A fully functional border crossing will facilitate the movement of goods and people. It is hoped that the project will increase trade and boost the local economy to ensure sustainable livelihoods for the poor.

For further information, please contact Reiko Okumura, UNOPS, Tel: +93 702 218 445, E-mail: reikoo (at) unops.org or website: www.unops.org/agoc

You can access the press release here in English (in PDF), Dari (in PDF) or Pashto (in PDF).