(Foreign Affairs) On a tour of the Afghan-Pakistan border a couple years after the collapse of the Taliban government, Afghanistan’s minister of the interior was in for a rude awakening. A number of guards at one Afghan-controlled crossing, he learned, went home at the end of each workday to Pakistan. The minister shouldn’t have been surprised to have Pakistani citizens on his payroll for such a sensitive task. After all, the country never had a truly functioning national border police, and so the job of managing the frontier fell largely to local strongmen and warlords, who were not above hiring foreigners so long as they were local.
Today, Afghanistan has a hefty national border police funded by the international community. But despite their crisp uniforms and neat organizational charts, the Afghan Border Police are nowhere near ready to protect the country’s borders. And that may be a good thing. […]
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