By Saima Afzal
Pakistan has been fencing the 2,640-kilometer-long border with Afghanistan since 2017 to end terrorist infiltration and smuggling and almost 94% fence is completed. However, few hostile media outlets are making efforts to create a gap between Afghanistan and Pakistan by triggering the border issue. In the past, India remained involved in conspiracies aimed at creating unrest along the Pak-Afghan borders assmooth relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan create hurdles for Indian vested interests. They highlighted that the Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan disrupted the erecting of a security fence by the Pakistani military along the border between the two countries and Taliban government do not recognize border fencing whereas the reality is opposite.
The international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan was drawn by British civil servant Sir Henry Mortimer Durand in November 1893 after signing an agreement with then-Afghan ruler Amir Abdur Rahman. The Durand line is recognized by the World, the Government of Pakistan, and Afghanistan and considered as an international border.
However, the initiative of Afghanistan border fencing was taken by the government of Pakistan for the security and to control terrorism and smuggling. It was essential for smooth transportation and to regulate trade between the both states. Its purpose is not to divide people but to secure them. Border crossing is open for both side of people through terminals and defined crossing area.
Pakistan has long and porous border with Afghanistan and during war on terrorism there have been observed number of cross border terrorist activities on Pak-Afghan border. It was also assumed that terrorists have their hideouts in border area and international players insisted for border fencing to control cross border terrorism. Though after the Taliban’s peaceful takeover of Afghanistan, they have ensured that their soil will not be used for terrorist’s activities. However, after the successful completion of Afghan-Pakistan border fencing Pakistan has less threat from Afghanistan / TTP.
For cross bordering the Torkham, kharlachi, Ghulam Khan, Angor Ada, Badin and Chaman border and terminal are opened, secured and narcotics/smuggling has been controlled from these areas due to border fencing.
On 21 Dec 2021, Reuter UK based News Agency has reported that Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan disrupted the erecting of a security fence by the Pakistani military along the border between the two countries. It has also highlighted that Afghan defence ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi said Taliban forces stopped the Pakistani military from erecting an “illegal” border fence along the eastern province of Nangarhar.
Afghan MoFA Spokesperson Abdul Kahar Balkhi in his statement said that recently a few of incidents have taken place along Durand line between Afghanistan and Pakistan that have given rise to the need for authorities of the two sides to address the problem. He further said that both states would address this issue through diplomatic channels.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi during a press conference also acknowledged that there were some complications pertaining to the fencing of Pak-Afghan border and the matter was being discussed with the Afghan Taliban government and would be resolve diplomatically. During a press conference Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Babar Iftikhar talked about the number of issues including the Pak-Afghan border he said that the border fence was erected after completing security operations in the erstwhile tribal areas and 94% work on the border fence with Afghanistan has been completed. He also said the border fence will be completed and stay in place. This is a fence for peace and Pakistan views the Pak-Afghanistan border as international border and not as Duran Line.
Spoiler are doing propaganda to create rift between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although there exist cordial relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan but still there are few elements to control as Taliban still have not fully controlled the country. It is time that both side need to resolve this issue diplomatically because small issue can lead to big one. Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf visited Afghanistan on 29-30 January 2022 and discussed border issue where both states agreed to address the issue.
Border management is done effectively and with mutual understanding of the Pakistan and Afghanistan and Taliban will not actively and deliberately try to undermine Pakistan’s interests, and would resolve misunderstandings through diplomatic engagement. Therefore, Afghan people need to understand that border fencing will make them more secure and it is essential for peace and stability of both states. Rumors and spoilers efforts need to be dismantle through patience and tolerance because good level of understanding exist between the leaders of both states and Pak-Afghan border is internationally recognized border and border fencing will be completed not only for Pakistan security but also for the security of Afghans.
* The writer is Islamabad based analyst and can be reached at [email protected].