The U.S. will send more American experts to train Afghan police and customs officials to better manage the country’s porous border crossings, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Saturday, noting that such training was critical to preparing for the eventual exit of foreign troops.
Napolitano met with President Hamid Karzai and Afghanistan’s finance minister and also planned on meeting with the interior minister before leaving for Qatar later in the weekend.
Karzai’s office said in a statement that during their talks, Napolitano said the United States would help Afghanistan with equipment and capacity building for the country’s customs operations and with the training of border police.
Karzai told the visiting secretary that the Afghan side was trying to strengthen its capacity and that the country would be able to assume responsibility for security in four years’ time, when international combat troops are expected to hand over to Afghan security forces.
It will be difficult, however, to train enough Afghan border police and agents to control the porous border with Pakistan. Thousands of U.S.-led troops have been unable to stop Taliban fighters and Islamic extremists from crossing the rugged frontier to fight NATO forces. Opium is also smuggled out of the country yearly.