Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 - Terrorist Safe Havens: Afghanistan
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||19 July 2017|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 - Terrorist Safe Havens: Afghanistan, 19 July 2017, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5981e4024.html [accessed 21 January 2018]|
Terrorist and insurgent groups are active in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Government of Afghanistan struggled to assert control over this remote terrain, where the population is largely detached from national institutions. Afghanistan generally cooperated with U.S. counterterrorism efforts, although there were some disagreements on the role of U.S. nationals during combined counterterrorism operations. President Ghani has actively pursued cross-border security cooperation with the Government of Pakistan, including the prospect of joint operations to reduce safe havens on both sides.
Since the transition from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to Resolute Support in January 2015, the trilateral border agreement that governed the Afghanistan-Pakistan border (ISAF was also a signatory) expired and the two countries were unable to finalize a bilateral agreement to replace it. While there were some positive tactical-level steps taken by each country's military to improve operational coordination, regular cross-border shelling, and terrorist attacks on both sides of the border made formal agreement politically untenable.
The potential for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) trafficking and proliferation remained a concern in Afghanistan because of its porous borders and the presence of terrorist groups. The United States and Afghanistan continued to work to finalize a bilateral framework to facilitate closer cooperation to counter nuclear terrorism and enhance Afghanistan's capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear smuggling incidents. The Afghanistan and U.S. governments also continued to work to implement comprehensive strategic trade controls and strengthen Afghanistan's border security system.
The Department of State's Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program contributed to strengthening Afghanistan's border enforcement capacity by providing training to the Afghan Customs Department. EXBS also sponsored regional cross-border collaboration through trainings with its South and Central Asian neighbors through the U.S. Department of Energy as well as Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime – World Customs Organization's Container Control Program. To increase the Government of Afghanistan's strategic trade control awareness, EXBS sponsored Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industry's participation in the University of Georgia, Center for International Trade and Security, Strategic Security Trade Management Academy. In addition, the Department of Energy's Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence program provided Afghanistan with mobile detection vans and associated training to enhance capabilities to detect nuclear and radiological materials.
The United States continued to assist the Afghan government in building capacity to secure potentially dangerous biological materials and infrastructure housed at Afghan facilities, promote surveillance capabilities to detect and identify possibly catastrophic biological events, and engage Afghan scientists and engineers that have WMD or WMD-applicable expertise.