Afghan Border Force
The Afghan Border Force (formerly the Afghan Border Police) transitioned into the MoD in December 2017. The ABF maintains security in the border security zone — which extends 30 miles into the territory of Afghanistan — to deter terrorists, criminal groups, and smugglers. The ABF mission, which remained relatively unchanged, includes securing and patrolling border areas and supporting ANA operations against insurgent and terrorist forces.
The MoD successfully transferred the Afghan Border Force, formerly known as the Afghan Border Police (ABP), from the MoI to the MoD in December 2017. This transition increases the fighting capacity of the ANDSF, improves unity of command by combining ANA and former police combat forces under ANA corps leadership, aligns forces conducting military operations within hold zones, and allows the MoI to shift its focus to customs and border protection at border crossing points and airports.
The ABF mission includes securing and patrolling border areas and supporting ANA operations against insurgent and terrorist forces. The ABF mission remained relatively unchanged from its mission under the MoI to facilitate faster integration into the ANA. The seven ABF brigades report to the ANA corps commanders, while an ABF HQ element within the MoD facilitates the administration of the border forces.
Full integration of the ABF into the ANA will require additional time to overcome the remaining leadership, logistical, and training challenges. Changes required by the Inherent Law and MoD optimization have not yet impacted the ABF. ABF generals and colonels that meet the criteria for Inherent Law retirement will be processed under MoI timelines beginning in July 2018. For MoD optimization changes, ABF brigades will be organic to the ANA corps.
When the majority of ABP transitioned to the MoD in December 2017, the ABP dedicated to customs and security operations at border crossing points and at airports remained under the control of the MoI. The ABP secure and safeguard national borders and provide security at Afghanistan’s international airports to deter terrorists, criminal groups, and smugglers. The ABP mission includes securing and patrolling border and control entry ports, such as airports and border-crossing points, and guarding against the illegal entry of persons, weapons, narcotics, and other goods. The ABP headquarters is located in Kabul.
Afghan Border Police
The Afghan Border Police’s mission was to secure and safeguard national borders, provide security at Afghanistan’s international airports, and maintain security in the border security zone – which extends 50 kilometers into the territory of Afghanistan – in order to deter terrorists, criminal groups and smugglers. This includes securing and patrolling border and control entry ports, such as airports and border-crossing points, and guarding against the illegal entry of persons, weapons, narcotics, and other goods. ABP forces along the border are trained and equipped with rifles, light and heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and 82mm mortars. The ABP end strength remains within a few hundred of its authorized 22,000 level.
ABP responsibilities are categorized into two distinct sets: a paramilitary mission and a more traditional border police-type mission. This dual mission supports the overall ANDSF model of achieving layered security and unity of effort with both ABP and ANA forces along the borders. The paramilitary mission involves providing security in the 50 kilometers zone around Afghanistan’s border. The policing mission involves providing border security and customs operations at crossing points and airports. Although the Afghan Customs Police currently fall under the ABP, they will eventually be transferred to the Ministry of Finance.
Under the SY 1394 tashkil, the ABP was organized in 2015 under one central headquarters located in Kabul and seven zones – compared to six zones last reporting period – largely aligned with the ANA corps and the new ANP zones. This additional zone was formed by dividing sections of the former 806th zone. Each zone has its own brigade headquarters element, response units or quick reaction forces, training unit command, several battalions, and border crossing point traffic control points.
ABP units were generally rated in 2015 as capable despite several administrative and logistical challenges in support and sustainment. For instance, because the ABP operates in some of the most rugged and remote terrain in the world, connectivity to AHRIMS and systems to support the APPS is limited. In addition, many of its checkpoints and outposts along the eastern border with Pakistan are accessible only during favorable weather and require extensive planning and coordination in order to resupply them with basic life support items.
The ABP is the pillar of the ANP responsible for securing and safeguarding the Afghan border as well as providing security up to 50 km away from the border. As of March 2012, the total strength for the ABP, including police in training, was 24,927 an increase of 2,968 personnel from the previous reporting period. However, the ABP continued to face a shortfall of NCOs, with only 4,041 of a total 5,622 authorized billets filled and an additional 942 officers and patrolmen assigned to NCO billets. The NCO shortfall remains the primary focus of ABP training efforts. ABP attrition has averaged 1.5 percent monthly over the period October 2011 through March 2012.
The ABP’s most significant challenge remained the development and training of its Blue Border mission (defined as rule of law enforcement at Border Crossing Points and Air and Rail Ports of Entry), as opposed to the Green Border mission (defined as patrolling borders between the points of entry). ABP also face challenges in the development of its other core institutions such as Border Coordination Centers, Operational Coordination Centers, training facilities, and headquarters. In the absence of these capabilities, the ABP is not effectively securing and controlling Afghanistan’s borders. In the near future, NTM-A will work with the MoI and ABP to better define the Blue Border force structure requirements, identify and procure essential Blue Border mission-specific equipment, and develop a Program of Instruction to satisfy Blue Border development requirements. Green Border planning teams will continue to work with IJC to find the right balance and cooperation between ABP and ANA for border security outside the Blue Border mission.
Similar to the AAF, the ABP is also challenged by corruption and the penetration of CPNs. Although many police units are performing well, some police units still undermine the rule of law, fail to take action against criminal or insurgent threats, extort the population, and engage in a range of other criminal activities. ISAF and the Afghan Government continue to work together to address ANSF corruption and have successfully removed numerous members of the ABP involved in criminal activity.
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