Pakistani army starts fencing border with Afghanistan

SHAFAQNA – Pakistan’s military has begun erecting fencing meant to span its entire 2,600-kilometer border with Afghanistan in order to stop cross-border infiltration and militants’ attacks in the region, officials said.

In phase one, 43 border posts have been constructed while 63 other are under construction in the Dir Lower, Bajaur, Mohmand Agency, and Khyber Agency border areas, and are due to be completed within two months, a high-ranking security officer said on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to speak the media.

He said the plan also includes building 338 border posts and army forts along the border to stymie infiltration from Afghanistan.

“There are several legal routes to cross into Afghanistan in Chitral, Dir, Bajaur, Mohmand Agency, Tor Kham Khyber Agency, Kurram Agency, North and South Waziristan, and the Chaman area of Baluchistan, but despite these legal routes, there are over 300 [illegal] crossing points, and terrorists always enter via those hard mountainous routes to carry out attacks in Pakistan and now the army will close them,” he added.

Pakistan announced last month that was starting to build the border fence after several high-profile terrorist attacks inside the country. According to Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, who heads the Inter-Service Public Relations, a media wing of Pakistan’s army, the fencing plan will have two phases: the first already started in the Khyber Pukhtonkhwa and Fata, and the second in Baluchistan.

Protesting the plan, Afghanistan said the Durand Line border between the countries has long been disputed, adding that the fence would create hardships for families who straddle the border.

Pakistan dismissed the Afghan criticisms of the fencing plan, saying the barrier is being raised on the Pakistani side of the border and no one has the right to object.

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