Railway Policemen And Militias Patrol On Camel Back In Tacheng

Patrolling the World's Borders

Pictures from some of the most volatile national boundaries on Earth.

With fences, walls, barbed wire, and guns, nations around the world spend billions of dollars patrolling and protecting their borders. They combat perceived threats to national security and, often, to their national identity from immigrants fleeing conflict and natural disasters, or seeking asylum; smugglers crossing with illicit goods; human traffickers; and economic rivals. National attitudes about protectionism, xenophobia, and military might play out every day on borders all over the world. The number of refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced people around the globe topped 65 million in 2015, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ― the first time in the UNHCR's history that number surpassed 60 million. Above: On the border between China and Kazakhstan, Chinese militia members patrol on camel back.

United States, at the Mexican border John Moore/Getty Images United States, at the Mexican border In the U.S., the stark difference between how the northern border with Canada and the southern border with Mexico are managed highlights the varying political and economic tensions between the countries. United States, at the Canadian border John Moore/Getty Images United States, at the Canadian border Ecuador, at the Colombian border RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images Ecuador, at the Colombian border Argentina, at the Chilean border FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images Argentina, at the Chilean border Dominican Republic, at the Haitian border Santiago Vidal/LatinContent/Getty Images Dominican Republic, at the Haitian border South Africa, at the Botswana border Chris Johns/National Geographic/Getty Images South Africa, at the Botswana border Niger, at the Libyan border DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images Niger, at the Libyan border Serbia, at the Macedonia border SASA DJORDJEVIC/AFP/Getty Images Serbia, at the Macedonia border Macedonia, at the Greek border ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images Macedonia, at the Greek border Greece, at the Macedonia border YANNIS KOLESIDIS/AFP/Getty Images Greece, at the Macedonia border Pakistan, at the Afghan border AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images Pakistan, at the Afghan border Saudi Arabia, at the Iraqi border FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images Saudi Arabia, at the Iraqi border Saudi Arabia, at the Yemen border AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images Saudi Arabia, at the Yemen border South Korea, at the North Korean border AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images South Korea, at the North Korean border China, at the Russian border VCG/VCG via Getty Images China, at the Russian border Poland, at the Russian border NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images Poland, at the Russian border