Afghanistan shuffles border security control

The Afghan government on Saturday handed over control of the Afghan Border Police (ABP) from the Interior Ministry to the Defense Ministry.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said this change in command was in line with the four-year national security plan aimed at ensuring unity of command, efficiency and reform.

He said restructuring of the border police force would bring billions of dollars to the government.

“In four months [multi-billion dollar Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline] TAPI will reach our soil,” Ghani said.

The World Bank economist-turned-politician is aiming to turn Afghanistan into a regional hub for transit of goods, natural resources and people.

The 19,000 soldiers of the border force were previously led by the Interior Ministry, that had been termed as the “heart of corruption” by Ghani.

Taking charge of the force, Defense Minister Tariq Shah Bahrami said reforms, including a rise of up to 5,000 Afghan afghanis ($75) in salary, were being considered.

He added that the move would enable the Afghan army to reach out to the border forces in remote areas to counter drug trafficking and the movement of terrorists when needed.

Gen. John Nicholson, commander of the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and the Nato-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM), reiterated support for the government’s security plan.

“The Taliban cannot win in the face of these constant improvements in the MoD [Defense Ministry] and in the MoI [Interior Ministry]… the Taliban’s choices are to reconcile, to live in irrelevance or to die,” he said.

Anadolu Agency