The Border Management Northern Afghanistan (EU-BOMNAF) project, has been working for nearly a decade providing infrastructure, equipment, training and capacity building the the Afghan Border Guards and Customs. The project also plays a major role in relation to fomenting regional cooperation between Afghanistan and it’s neighbors on the northern border of country. Financed by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) the project started in 2007. Under its former name “EU Border Management Badakhshan Afghanistan” the project was initiated as part of EU Kabul’s regional cooperation programme as a capacity building and training project, and ran until 2010. At that time, between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, there were three international border crossing points at bridges over the Amu Darya (Pyanj) River. The Border Management Northern Afghanistan Project (BOMNAF) started in 2011 and the current iteration is due to continue until end 2017.
Today there are six bridges and a seventh is planned for construction soon. Bridges were built by the USA (At Nizhny Pyanj – Shirkhan Bandar) and by AKDN-PATRIP at all other locations. In addition, from Afghanistan, there is one Border Crossing Point with Uzbekistan and one Border Crossing Point with Turkmenistan.
EU-BOMNAF continues providing training to the Afghan Border Police officers to increase their skills in several crucial areas such as: Border management awareness, First Aid, Training the trainer, Polaris ATV maintenance and operator training, Survival swimming, Computer/ICT, Survival search and rescue, Land navigation and map reading, Disaster management, etc.
In order to improve the working and living conditions of the Afghan Border Police and other agencies’ officers stationed on the Northern Borders of Afghanistan, EU-BOMNAF continues to improve the border infrastructure by building new facilities, upgrading and renovating existing buildings.
Environmental and sustainable standards
Infrastructure facilities are sometimes inadequately maintained and serviced. Taking into account lessons learned from previous projects, EU-BOMNAF have already built 21st century –designed, low maintenance infrastructure, with ecologically-appropriate designs and environmentally sound equipment incorporated on the border. No more diesel generators. No more central heating or boiler rooms, no more electric AirCon. Current and future constructions are planned with trees planted to provide natural shade and cooler areas for summertime meetings. Heating is also provided by multi-fuel stoves and the option of local fuel from specifically planted trees. For buildings and facilities’ maintenance, EU-BOMNAF has already provided ‘self-help’ tool kits and maintenance packages of wood, glass, paint, roofing sheets, hand tools and other items to each detachment within the current project. This could be expanded and local input further investigated, to assist in the upkeep of facilities provided
Meetings and conferences are held every year between agencies from Afghanistan Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, to support regional liaison and cross-border, joint activities and information sharing.
The closing of the cross-border market by the Eshkashem border crossing point (Badakhshan) because of the volatile security situation is affecting the livelihood and access to goods of the Afghan and Tajik local populations in the area.