Top 10 Most Dangerous International Borders



Top 10 Most Dangerous International Borders

VOICE OVER: Joshua Karpati WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Script written by Michael Wynands

These lines traced on the map are veritable hotbeds for violence. From U.S.A. & Mexico, to Ethiopia & Eritrea, and Sudan & South Sudan, these borders are pretty scary. WatchMojo counts down Top 10 Most Dangerous International Borders.

Special thanks to our user Alex Poggetti for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Most+Dangerous+International+Borders.
Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Most Dangerous International Borders

These lines traced on the map are veritable hotbeds for violence. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Dangerous International Borders.

For this list, we’ll be looking at borders separating countries around the world that have developed a reputation for being very dangerous or risky - either along the border itself, or in a larger sense due to disputes between the two countries.

#10: U.S.A. & Mexico

It might be the most travelled border in the world, but don’t mistake volume for general safety. Between border checkpoints… things get ugly fast. Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans attempt to enter the country illegally each year. Though the U.S. Border Patrol rarely employs lethal force, it does happen. Then, there’s the overeager civilian “vigilante” border patrols. The biggest cause for concern however, is drug trafficking and the violence it has brought. On the Mexican side, the cities of Juarez and Reynosa have come to feel like war zones, while many Texan towns are among the most dangerousborder communities in the country.

#9: Ethiopia & Eritrea

Located in the horn of Africa, Ethiopia and Eritrea saw their war come to an end in 2000, but that was far from the end of hostilities. The boundary separating their respective nations remains contested. Though a Commission founded by the United Nations declared that the town and surrounding area of “Badme” is rightfully a part of Eritrea, Ethiopia continues to occupy it. In the end, both have declared themselves to be in at least partial disagreement with the commission’s official 2002 verdict, and as such, tensions remain high. There have been armed conflicts in 2008 and 2016, with no signs of a permanent peace.

#8: Sudan & South Sudan

They might share a name, but there’s a long history of differences between these two nations. South Sudan was officially formed in 2011, following a 2005 peace treaty that brought an end to the second Sudanese civil war. Sadly, the peace was not to last. In 2012, an armed conflict - the Heglig Crisis - broke out between the newly established neighbors. Then, in 2013, just two years after winning their independence via referendum, South Sudan became embroiled in their very own civil war. Given the continued instability and human rights violations prominent in South Sudan, it’s safe to call this border a dangerous one.

#7: Russia & Ukraine

These two countries have had a long and bloody relationship. It was particularly bad under Stalin, who began pushing Russian identity across the entirety of the Soviet Union, and who caused the death of millions of Ukrainians with a man-made famine. Many decades later, theirs remains a border defined by conflict. In 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin took the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. Given Ukraine’s instability and the revolution they had just undergone, it was a perfect opportunity for Putin to “reclaim” this land in the name of Russia. This border has understandably become a stressful and tricky one to navigate.

#6: Afghanistan & Pakistan

These two nations are separated by the Durand Line. Unfortunately, it cuts right through certain ethnic areas, such as the Pashtuns and Baloch. Because of this and other geopolitical concerns, the Durand Line is the site of much conflict. At various points, it has been called the world’s most dangerousborder, given that it serves as a major crossing point and hub for drug and arms traffickers. Due to the historical lack of government control in the area, it has long been a hotbed for terrorists. In the aerly 21st century however, attacks in both countries have resulted in greater militarization of the border.

#5: China & North Korea

The Hermit Kingdom has its enemies, but for decades, China has served as arguably its closest ally, not only in the form of a 1961 Friendship Treaty, but also by providing a channel for outside goods. That relationship has become seriously strained, however, by North Korea’s nuclear efforts, and the seizure of Chinese fishing boats. There have been reports of Chinese troops defensively amassing along the border, and concerns over a major refugee crisis. China presents the easiest defection point, and given the instability in North Korea, China has reportedly begun building refugee camps, while North Korea, for its part, has tightened its security.

#4: Israel & Palestine

The border separating these two states is one of seemingly endless conflict and change. Palestine currently consists of Gaza and parts of the West Bank. In 2017, due to security concerns, Israel actually closed the only two border crossing points in and out of Gaza, Kerem Shalom and Erez. Both have been reopened and closed repeatedly since. That same year, Israel also closed off all the West Bank and Gaza for 11 days of Jewish holidays. Given that there seems to be violence between Palestine and Israel on a near daily basis, there’s simply no guaranteed safe way to visit these borders.

#3: Chad & Sudan

While we’ve already addressed its issues to the South, Sudan's western border, shared with Chad, is also problematic, chiefly Darfur. This western region of Sudan has been the site of ongoing conflict and unrest since 2003, when various rebel groups began fighting the Sudanese government. During this drawn-out conflict, which continues to this day, the Sudanese government accused the neighboring nation, Chad, of supporting the rebels. Chad, for their part, accused Sudan of supporting the rebels in the Chadian Civil War. Though the two now work together to police the border, the unresolved conflict remains a serious cause for concern.

#2: India & Pakistan

Pakistan doesn’t just have issues along the Durand Line, but with India to the East as well. Since 1947, when these two nations both gained their independence, they’ve been at odds. Three additional wars and countless minor conflicts have made this border run with blood. In 2014 through 2015, there were a number of skirmishes in the Kashmir region, which built towards a more significant conflict in 2016. Since 1959, the border forces on both sides have partaken in a lowering of the flags ceremony to celebrate fraternity and rivalry between the two nations, but the rivalry always seems to keep going.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions

Israel & Syria

Yemen & Saudi Arabia

Iraq & Iran

#1: North Korea & South Korea

There is perhaps no border more infamous in the world than the one that separates North and South Korea. As part of the Korean Armistice Agreement, a Demilitarized Zone 2.5 miles wide and 160 miles long was established. Although you can safely visit the DMZ from the South Korean side, the Northern side has become notorious, given that it is strictly guarded in order to prevent defection. It’s been estimated that some 1,000 North Koreans attempt it every year, but most do so through China. Why? Because fleeing directly across this heavily guarded border is challenging and comes with a high risk of death.