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Napolitano visits Afghanistan

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano touched down in
Afghanistan on Friday morning and planned to spend New Year’s Eve
visiting troops.

Six Department of Homeland Security (DHS) customs and border security
officials will accompany Napolitano on the weeklong trip, which will
include stops in Qatar, Israel and Belgium.

Napolitano spent Friday morning touring Afghanistan’s Torkham Border
Crossing with Pakistan and meeting with Afghan an U.S. border security
and customs officials to find new ways to establish a border-security
and customs system to counter terrorism while allowing legitimate
travel and trade.

Following her visit to the Afghan-Pakistan border, Secretary
Napolitano joined a group of U.S. and allied troops for lunch and
thanked them for their service.

“Today, I arrived in Kabul with six additional border security and
customs officers who will join our ongoing efforts to advise and
assist our Afghan counterparts on customs and border control,” she
said in a statement. “It is an honor to meet with our dedicated
military and civilian men and women who are helping to bring peace and
stability to Afghanistan, and I thank them for their continued efforts
and sacrifices here to make the American homeland safer and more
secure.”

During the trip, Secretary Napolitano also 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.

DHS border security and customs officials have spent several years in
the region trying to help train and coordinate Afghan security
officials. In the last twelve months, DHS has expanded the effort 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—including the
six officials that arrived with Napolitano earlier today. Additional
personnel will be deployed in the coming month, according to a DHS
release.

After leaving Afghanistan on Sunday, Napolitano will travel to Qatar,
Israel and Belgium to meet with her government counterparts in those
countries to discuss international efforts to ensure airline security
and supply systems against threats of terrorism and transnational
crime.

This post was updated at 10:30 a.m.

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