On Tuesday, the Pakistani Army began construction of a new border fence in an effort to improve the country’s security. The fence is set to be built along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, with spots that are vulnerable to penetration by militants given top priority.
“A secure Pak-Afg [Pakistan-Afghanistan] border is in common interest of both countries and a well coordinated border security mechanism is essential for enduring peace and stability,” the Pakistani Army said in a statement.
The fence, reported to be constructed of chain-link with razor wire, is proposed to run for 1,500 miles, a good portion of it in mountainous areas that are remote and hard to control. The construction will be done in phases, starting in the Bajur, Mohmand and Khyber tribal regions. By the end of the extensive project the entire border will be fenced in.
The fence is an attempt at effective border management to combat terrorism. They hope to dissuade militant organizations like the Taliban and al-Qaida, whose radical members often cross the border and enter Pakistan.
Recently, there has been a regrouping of Taliban forces, causing discord between the Afghan and Pakistani governments. Each accuses the other of ignoring the border problems, which allows militants to cross without repercussions.
While the Pakistani Amy says the fence is good for both country’s, Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry, says Pakistan is overstepping.
“Pakistan has no right to fence or construct any building along the border with Afghanistan,” Danish said. Warning of retaliatory action, he continued, “In the past also Pakistan made a mistake by constructing buildings along the border and faced strong reaction from us. We hope they don’t repeat such mistakes once again.” Danish is referring to firefights that took place when Pakistan attempted to construct border fortifications in the past.
Despite the resistance, the army is already constructing the fence, which will be accompanied by new forts and border posts that will improve surveillance and Pakistan’s ability to defend its border. Pakistan’s Express Tribune reports that they are on track to complete 338 posts by 2019, and they have already completed 43 posts.
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