Terrorist and insurgent groups exploit Afghanistan’s ungoverned spaces, including the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), elements of al-Qa’ida, and terrorist groups targeting Pakistan, such as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), continued to use the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region as a safe haven. The Government of National Unity (GNU) struggled to assert control over this remote terrain, where the population is largely detached from national institutions. Afghanistan generally cooperated with U.S. counterterrorism efforts, including participating in joint operations against insurgents in districts bordering Pakistan.
The potential for WMD trafficking and proliferation remained a concern. In 2018, the United States and Afghanistan continued to work to finalize a bilateral framework to help Afghanistan enhance its capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear and other radioactive material smuggling incidents. The Afghanistan and U.S. governments also continued to work to implement comprehensive strategic trade controls and strengthen Afghanistan’s border security
The United States continued to assist the GNU in building capacity to secure potentially dangerous biological materials and infrastructure housed at Afghan facilities, to promote surveillance capabilities to detect and identify possibly catastrophic biological events, and to engage Afghan scientists and engineers that have WMD or WMD-applicable expertise.