Enhancing Border Management in Takhar Province
6 April 2009 - Work has begun on a new border management post at Ai Khanem in the northeast province of Takhar adjoining Tajikistan, part of an Afghan Government effort to improve border management and boost legal trade.
The project is funded by the Government of Japan and implemented by UNOPS, working closely with the Afghan Customs Department (ACD) of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Commerce. The USD 11 million project will establish crucial infrastructure, including office and accommodation buildings and warehousing. It will also train and equip customs officials and border police.
Controlling the Afghan-Tajik border is challenging and requires the authorities to tackle drug smuggling and other illicit cross-border activities. Nevertheless, Takhar province has great potential as an important route for legitimate trade. Improved customs control will also increase national revenue collection.
Takhar Governor Abdul Latif Ibrahimi said: “Our counter-narcotics efforts have been very successful in the last few years, and there are no longer poppy fields or heroin factories in Takhar. The most important thing now is to increase trade and boost the local economy to ensure sustainable livelihoods for the poor. The new border crossing point will greatly facilitate the movements of people and goods, and we really appreciate this timely assistance.”
Bruce McCarron, UNOPS Afghanistan Operations Centre Director said: “Effective border management is indispensable for regional stability and security and we are happy to support the Government’s modernization efforts in this area.”
Last week the Afghan Customs Department identified a site for the border post and UNOPS has started a site survey and development of preliminary designs. All construction and training activities will be completed by August 2011.
Established in 1995, UNOPS provides project management services in fields where the UN has a mandate. In particular UNOPS has proven competencies in large-scale and complex infrastructure projects, including design, oversight of recruitment, purchasing, contracting, implementation and financial management worldwide.
UNOPS Afghanistan Operations Center (AGOC) contributes to Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development efforts on behalf of the Afghan government and the donor community. AGOC’s areas of activities include civil and structural engineering and architectural services, capacity development and governmental operations management services such as customs modernization, elections and environmental protection.