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Readout of Secretary Napolitano's Visit to Torkham Border Crossing and Lunch with Troops in Afghanistan

Release Date: 
December 31, 2010

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

TORKHAM, Afghanistan—U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today toured border security operations at Afghanistan’s Torkham Border Crossing with Pakistan—meeting with Afghan and U.S. border security and customs officials working to strengthen border security along the Afghan-Pakistan border while facilitating legitimate travel and commerce.

“Building and maintaining a strong border crossing system is critical to the stability and security of Afghanistan,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Over the past year, the Department of Homeland Security has worked closely with the Afghan government to help establish a border security and customs system to counter terrorism while facilitating legitimate travel and trade.”

For several years, DHS has deployed border security and customs personnel to the region to provide civilian assistance to local security officials by mentoring Afghan border police and customs officials and helping establish an Afghan customs academy. In the last twelve months, DHS efforts have expanded and now more than a dozen U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are providing training and guidance to the Afghan government and sharing best practices—including the six officials that arrived with Secretary Napolitano earlier today. Additional personnel will be deployed in the coming months.

Secretary Napolitano’s visit included a briefing and tour of the Afghan Border Coordination Center at Torkham, as well as an aerial tour of the Torkham Border Crossing Point. She also met with Afghan port officials and received a briefing with CBP and ICE personnel working in the border region.

Following her visit to the Afghan-Pakistan border, Secretary Napolitano joined a group of U.S. and allied troops for lunch. She thanked them for their service—reiterating that U.S. homeland security does not begin at our physical borders, but starts with the global threats of terrorism they combat everyday around the world.

Secretary Napolitano reiterated President Obama’s commitment to assisting the Afghan people in securing their country by disrupting, dismantling and defeating al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Later today, Secretary Napolitano will spend New Year’s Eve with U.S. military and civilian personnel.

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