2nd INTERPOL Working Group Meeting: Illegal migration is a challenge

Kabul, February 2016. EUPOL provides comprehensive support for INTERPOL Afghanistan, aiming to improve professional performance of INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) Kabul in terms of an enhanced cooperation with Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the Afghan Border Police (ABP). The second working group meeting to advance this goal took place between the INTERPOL, U.S. Embassy’s FBI Officers, German Police Project Team (GPPT) and EUPOL at the end of February. The specific aim of this meeting was to discuss cooperation between the NCB, AGO and ABP to stop illegal migration at the airports. In addition to that, the challenges within NCB were also discussed.

NCB was represented by the Deputy Head Colonel Abdul Wali Rauofi who spoke about their work and listed a number of challenges. “Two new border crossing points have been established: one between Badakhshan province and Tajikistan and the other between Farah province and Iran. Both of them need to be connected to the internet and database system. Additionally, the INTERPOL and Border Police officials working in airports and border crossing points need further training on how to deal with organised crime, human and drug trafficking.” On the other hand, one of the challenges mentioned in the Working Group meeting was lack of operational budget for INTERPOL Office in Kabul.

There are 14 legal border crossing points and four airports manned by INTERPOL staff (ECOPOL Department). It has been discussed how the border control database (Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System, PISCES) and biometrics could be linked to the INTERPOL databases and made accessible to the officials at all the airports when checking the incoming and outgoing passengers. If these databases are linked with each other, it would help to control illegal migration as well. GPPT Officer Michael Bayer raised the concerns of migration crisis in Europe and stated: “Maybe nearly 95% of the people who are leaving Afghanistan, do it due to security and economic problems but 5% might go for other reasons. It could be considered as an achievement if even that 5% are controlled properly.”

EUPOL will facilitate more inter-agency working group meetings for further capacity building of the NCB Kabul. GPPT, in close cooperation with EUPOL, organised professional English language training for NCB Officers to improve their capability to communicate with international passengers and manage the databases. To discuss further cooperation, the next working group meeting has been planned to take place already in early March.