Cross-Border Development and Cooperation

Life in the border regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan is difficult, not least because of the prevailing natural conditions. The landscape of north-eastern Afghanistan, where the country borders Tajikistan and Pakistan, is characterised by mountains, glaciers and gorges. People living further south, along the border with Pakistan, have to contend with the harsh conditions of steppes and deserts. Temperatures are extreme, with bitterly cold winters in the mountains and intense heat in summer in the steppes and deserts.


People in the border region celebrate festivals together and meet up for special occasions. But the existing infrastructure in the border region is poor, which makes social contact more difficult. There are few roads, flooding is frequent and landslides make the situation even more difficult.

People in the border region lead an isolated and unprotected life. Their harvests are often not enough to feed their own families. There are practically no jobs outside farming, meaning that people have almost no opportunity to earn a living in any other sector. Their access to markets and social services is limited. As a result, there is little or no development in these border regions.


Extensive cross-border measures to develop and expand socio-economic infrastructure have been realised. The inhabitants of the inaccessible border regions between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan benefit from social and economic development. The improved infrastructure also makes the regions more stable in the long term. The promotion of economic prospects opens up the chance of a better future for the population, which helps foster peaceful development in the border regions. Improvements that are felt quickly, if possible, are pursued.

Measures and Results

The PATRIP Foundation was established in 2011 by KfW Development Bank, on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its focus is on supporting integration and cross-border cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours Pakistan and Tajikistan.

In its capacity as an independent institution, the PATRIP Foundation identifies ways of making development in the Pakistan – Afghanistan – Tajikistan border region as effective and efficient as possible. Cooperating with international and national non-governmental organisations as well as local and national actors on the government side, the foundation fosters cross-border partnerships and agreements. To ensure the long-term effectiveness of regional construction measures, the foundation involves the local population in planning and implementation.

Since late 2016, the PATRIP Foundation has also been funding projects for Afghan returnees in Herat, a province that borders on Iran.

Enhanced infrastructure for development and cohesion

The PATRIP Foundation is currently promoting more than 115 projects in the Pakistan – Afghanistan – Tajikistan border area. Sixty-five infrastructure projects with different focus points have already been successfully completed. They not only improve the quality of life of the people in the region, but also foster cross-border cooperation and economic development.

Developing local markets

One development project that is hugely significant in the region is the cross-border Vanj Market. It is situated in the Afghan province of Badakhshan and in the Tajik province of Gorno Badakhshan. The market is very popular with local people and traders. An outdoor area is now being created to provide additional sales space. In addition, a solar plant will supply power to the market in future so that traders can offer their goods even after sunset and in the early hours of the morning. Electric power will also make it possible to refrigerate goods, extending their shelf lives and allowing traders to expand their range of goods to include new perishable products.

Improving health care

Five health centres are currently being set up along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, providing the communities on both sides of the border with access to appropriate health care. The centres are being equipped with telemedicine equipment and linked up with one another. Modern technology makes it possible to provide advanced training for medical staff, even over long distances. And when doctors encounter difficult cases or unusual symptoms, they can consult with colleagues in other health centres.

Expanding farmland

The foundation is also promoting the construction of irrigation systems along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, including in the Afghan province of Paktia. Five open channels are currently being built, providing irrigation for almost 630 hectares of land, which in turn will allow some 14,000 people to farm the land and generate income. Local farmers are being trained in the use of modern irrigation and farming methods. They are learning how to increase their yields while making economical but effective use of water from the new irrigation system.

At a glance

Pakistan – Afghanistan – Tajikistan Regional Integration Programme (PATRIP Foundation)
Commissioned by:
German Federal Foreign Office and the ministries of foreign affairs of Norway and Luxembourg, as well as the European Union as partner of the PATRIP Foundation
Aga Khan Foundation, Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD), Mission East, Organization for Relief Development (ORD), Norwegian Red Cross (NRC), International Red Cross (IRC), World Vision and other non-governmental organisations
Implementing organisations:
KfW Development Bank
Badakhshan, Herat, Khost, Nangarhar, Paktia, Takhar
Programme objective:
To promote stability, integration and cooperation through the construction of socio-economic infrastructure in the Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan border regions
Overall term:
November 2010 – November 2023