Pakistan building fence along Afghanistan border

March 27, 2017 9:25 pm

This file photo shows a Pashtu-speaking Afghan man crossing Afghan-Pakistani border into . (Photo by Reuters)

Pakistan says it has started
building a fence along its volatile border with in an
attempt to restrict the movement of militants that cross over the
frontier and launch attacks.

The fence construction began
in the northern tribal regions of Mohmand and Bajaur over the weekend
as Pakistan’s army chief, General Qamar Bajwa, visited the “high threat
zones.” He said the new border measure would be in the interest of both
countries.
A Pakistani army statement said “additional technical
surveillance” would also be deployed, but did not provide any further
information.
Najib Danish, the deputy spokesman for the Afghan
Interior Ministry, said Kabul was unaware of any construction work,
noting that his government would move to prevent any such project.
“We
have not seen any signs of building fences along the border. But it is
not going to solve the terrorism problem. It is only going to divide the
people and we will not allow it,” he said.
Experts say deep
cultural ties between Pashtu-speaking people who live on both sides of
the border will render the controversial move ineffective.
Every
day, thousands of Afghan and Pakistani Pashtuns cross the Durand Line —
the 2,430-kilometer boundary established by the British in 1896 during
their colonial rule.
Neither the Afghan government nor Pashtuns
recognize the Durand Line as an official border between the two nations,
who are bound by cultural and family ties.

This file photo shows a view of the Wesh–Chaman border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan.The
movement across the Durand Line generates revenue for both Afghanistan
and Pakistan. The two countries exchange goods and services worth 3
billion dollars annually across the border.
Last year, Pakistan completed a 1,100-kilometer trench along the southern half of the border.
Pakistan
says its recent move to fence the crossings is aimed at curtailing the
movement of militants and stopping them from entering the country.
Experts, however, say Islamabad is increasingly worried about India’s influence in Afghanistan.
Former
Afghan diplomat Ahmad Saidi argues that Pakistan is trying to put
pressure on Afghanistan to achieve its long-term goals such as
persuading Kabul to distance itself from New Delhi.
“Governments pursue long-term policies and consider the current losses that people suffer … collateral damage,” he said.

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