Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Minister of Finance Zakhiwal to discuss progress being made in securing the region and America's commitment to working with Afghanistan to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in the region.
"The Obama administration remains fully committed to combating threats of terrorism in Afghanistan," said Secretary Napolitano. "In coordination with U.S. and Afghan military forces, the dedicated civilian Department of Homeland Security personnel assisting the Afghan government with customs and border control have made significant progress in disrupting al Qaeda operations in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan."
In her meetings with President Karzai and Minister Zakhiwal, Secretary Napolitano discussed the Department's ongoing efforts--coordinated with the Afghan government--to combat the illicit diversion and trafficking of precursor chemicals that terrorist and other criminal organizations use to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
She discussed DHS' deployments of border security and customs personnel to the region to assist Afghan border police and customs officials and help 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 yesterday.
Secretary Napolitano also held a roundtable discussion today with Afghan women, as well as U.S. women serving in the region, to hear about efforts underway to advance the role of women in Afghan society. During the discussion, Secretary Napolitano reiterated President Obama's strong commitment to advancing the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.
The group was comprised of Afghan government officials representing the Ministries of Women's Affairs, Public Health, Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Justice and the Afghanistan National Army and National Police, as well as women serving various non-governmental organizations and American women working to assist the Afghan people in bringing peace and stability to the region.
Yesterday, Secretary Napolitano toured border security operations at Afghanistan's Torkham Border Crossing with Pakistan and met 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. Secretary Napolitano also spent New Year's Eve with U.S. military and civilian personnel.
Following her departure from Afghanistan, Secretary Napolitano will continue to Qatar on Jan. 2; Israel on Jan. 3-5; and Belgium on Jan. 5-6 to meet with her counterparts and discuss international efforts to ensure the security of our global aviation and supply chain systems against threats of terrorism and transnational crime while facilitating the flow of legitimate travel and commerce. More details will be provided once they are finalized.
For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.