Pakistan on Friday said that it intends to finish the remaining work along the Pakistan and Afghanistan frontier, the Durand Line, only after the consent of the Taliban regime. Islamabad will take into account the Taliban’s concerns and reservations, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said on Friday, according to reports. Pakistan has erected over 90 percent fencing along the 2,670-km international border to deter the militias, but the Taliban had torn down the fence, and some incidents of the Pakistan military clashes and cross border exchange of fire were also reported earlier. Just last month, skirmishes broke out between the Pakistani security forces and Afghan Taliban across the Durand Line in Ganjgaal, Sarkano, Kunar, and in the Bajaur area.
A contentious issue between Afghanistan and Pakistan
The century-old British-era boundary demarcation signed on November 12, 1893, between the British civil servant Sir Henry Mortimer Durand and then Afghan ruler Amir Abdur Rahman, has split families on either side and has long been a contentious issue between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Fights have routinely broken out on the border and Pakistan has mulled over its national security and has unilaterally made several attempts to install the fence. In December, a sniper, reportedly belonging to the Taliban, shot dead two Pakistani soldiers in the area where the border fence was being installed by Pakistan. Several such heavy clashes have broken out since the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul and military shells and artillery have been reported hitting the villagers, which Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has condemned.
At a press conference on Friday, Ahmad said that more than 2,600 kilometres of the border had been fenced, and exuded hope that the remaining 21km would be completed “with the consent of our brothers” referring to the Taliban. It remains unclear if the Taliban had a formal agreement with Pakistan’s decision as videos that circulated earlier showed the members of the Afghan Taliban uprooting a portion of the fence along the border, registering their strong objection. Taliban had opposed Pakistan’s fence claiming that it was erected inside Afghan territory. Earlier, at a conference, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told a Pashto channel: “The new Afghan government will announce its position on this issue. The fencing has separated people and divided families. We want to create a secure and peaceful environment on the border so there is no need to create barriers.”