An official cornerstone ceremony funded by the EU and the US marks the start of a customs training facility

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The commencement of the construction process for a permanent training facility for the Afghan National Customs has been marked by a cornerstone ceremony in the presence of the Minister Zakhilwal, EU Special Representative and Head of the EU Delegation, Ambassador Vygaudas Ušackas and US Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

Speaking on the occasion Ambassador Ušackas said that he hoped this initiative would further enable Afghanistan in developing a professional and responsible customs service, one that is capable of delivering timely and efficient services to the country. He also highlighted that the provision of a functional and motivated service will contribute both to the national treasury and in the strengthening of the economy but most importantly also symbolised EU's long-term commitment to Afghanistan.

EU's participation in the project of construction of Customs Academy will reach approximately 9 million Euros and constitutes the most recent intervention in our effort to support the Afghan Customs Department. The EU's commitment to provide Afghanistan with a modern and efficient Customs administration is translated into action through a series of projects totaling 50 million EUR since 2004. The main focus of the assistance is on training, institutional capacity building, construction of infrastructure and provision of equipment, aimed at reforming the Afghan national border management system thereby improving security at national borders and increasing revenue collection. In this framework, EU has funded the construction of customs facilities in Torkham (Border Crossing Point with Pakistan), in Sher-Khan-Bandar (border with Tajikistan) and Heiratan (border with Uzbekistan). The total value of the three aforementioned projects has reached 41 million Euros.