Afghanistan. The border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan is an under-governed area that terrorists exploit to conduct attacks in both countries. Terrorist networks active in Afghanistan, such as al-Qa'ida (AQ), the Haqqani Network, and others, operate in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. ISIL Khorasan (ISIL-K) is largely based in Afghanistan, but its support network also reaches into Pakistan's tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The Afghan government has struggled to assert control over this remote terrain where the population is largely detached from national institutions. Afghanistan cooperates with U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Since taking office in September 2014, President Ghani has pursued cross-border security cooperation with the Pakistani government, including the prospect of joint operations to reduce safe havens on both sides of the border.

The potential for WMD trafficking and proliferation remains 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 Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program contributes to strengthening Afghanistan's border enforcement capacity by providing border interdiction trainings to Afghan Customs Department and the Afghan Border Police. EXBS also sponsors regional cross-border collaboration through trainings with its Central Asian neighbors through the OSCE 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 and capacity, EXBS sponsored training for an Afghan delegation, which included representatives from the Afghan Atomic Energy High Commission, the Ministry of Commerce, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the University of Georgia, Center for International Trade Security.

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.

Pakistan. In 2015, an assortment of terrorist groups, to include the Haqqani Network, attempted to hide in or operate from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, a mountainous region along Pakistan's northwest border with Afghanistan. The National Action Plan (NAP) calls upon the government to "ensure that no armed militias are allowed to function in the country," although claims about the NAP's uneven implementation was a frequent feature in Pakistani media. As in 2014, Pakistan launched military operations to eradicate terrorist safe havens, although their impact on all terrorist groups was uneven. The government administered an Exit Control List (ECL) intended to prevent terrorists and criminal actors from traveling abroad. In August, September, and November, the government announced its intention to remove thousands of people from the ECL on grounds of their wrongful or unsubstantiated addition. Some UN-designated terrorist groups, such as Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) affiliates Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, were able to fundraise and hold rallies in Pakistan. LeT/JuD leader, Hafiz Saeed, who is also a UN-designated terrorist, was able to make frequent public appearances in support of the organization's objectives, which were covered by the Pakistani media, for much of the year. In September, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Agency prohibited media coverage of LeT and affiliated groups, although the groups continued to recruit and operate around the country. Despite JuD and FiF's proscription under UN sanctions regimes, the Pakistani government affirmed in December that neither organization was banned in Pakistan.

To combat the trafficking of items that could contribute to WMDs and their delivery systems, Pakistan continued to work towards harmonizing its national control list with items controlled by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, and Australia Group, as well as taking positive moves such as adding catch-all provisions to its export licensing procedures. Along with list development, Pakistan developed industry internal compliance guidelines and an industry outreach program for strategic technology sectors, which regularly shares information with these industries. The U.S. government seeks to partner more closely with Pakistan on a further enhanced outreach campaign for industry to fully understand and implement Pakistan's export control requirements, as well as to begin a dialogue on controls on conventional weapons and related dual-use technologies. In addition to industry outreach, Pakistan also participated, developed, and delivered a series of technical trainings to responsible government licensing and enforcement officials for the proper identification of dual-use commodities that could be used to create WMDs and/or their delivery systems. Overall, Pakistan was a committed partner that undertook great efforts to build its export control capabilities.

Pakistan is a constructive and active participant in the Nuclear Security Summit process and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and has worked to strengthen its strategic trade controls, including updating its national export control list. The Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program increased the Government of Pakistan's enforcement capacity by sponsoring training for Pakistani Customs and Strategic Export Control Division officials on how to properly identify strategic commodities of concern. These commodity identification and advanced interdiction trainings were implemented by the U.S. Department of Energy. EXBS also sponsored regional collaboration through nonproliferation fellowships and cross-border coordination with Afghanistan through the UN Office and Drugs and Crime – World Customs Organization's Container Control Program (CCP). Under the CCP, training was provided to enhance the targeting of skills of port control unit officials at the Torkham and Jalalabad border-crossings.


This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.