Pakistan completes 94% of border fence, despite ‘isolated’ incidents

The Pakistani military has said the fencing project along the Durand Line with Afghanistan will continue despite issues raised in recent weeks.

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said on Wednesday that 94% of the border fence has been completed and that work on the remaining section continues.

“We are totally focused, and under the western border management regime, the work that is underway will be completed sometime soon.”

He also said the border management process would be improved.

“The blood of our martyrs was spilled in erecting this fence. It is a fence of peace. It will be completed and will remain [in place].”

Although the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) considers good relations with Pakistan to be a priority, footage published on social media that emerged this week allegedly shows IEA border forces destroying sections of the fence.

Iftikhar made it clear that Pakistan considers the Durand Line as the international border between the two countries. “It is an internationally recognised border,” he added.

When asked whether the government had raised the issue with the Afghan government, about the damage, Iftikhar said western border management had “local and strategic dynamics”.

He said the recent damage to the fence, allegedly by IEA forces, was “one or two localised problems”, which he said was being discussed by the governments of both countries.

“We have very good relations. We understand each other and keep talking about different issues that keep surfacing. There is no problem, fencing is underway and will continue.”

“The fencing should be stopped as a first step and the issue should be resolved through diplomacy. If the former government officials have signed any agreement with Pakistan on this issue, they should be held accountable to the Afghan people,” said Mohammad Saddiq Shinwari, an Afghan military analyst.

Since the beginning of the Islamic Emirate’s take over in the country, Pakistan has said the Afghan border forces have repeatedly clashed with the Pakistani military over the fencing.

However, the Islamic Emirate does not consider the matter a serious problem between them and officials have said that the improvement of relations with neighboring countries is a priority and that the fence problems are isolated incidents.

“The position of the Islamic Emirate is that it wants good relations with all countries, especially neighboring countries, and the small clashes that have occurred near the zero points are at the local level, and any concerns have been resolved and we do not have any concerns at the border or line level between the two countries,” said Bilal Karimi, IEA’s deputy spokesman.

Two days ago, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also reacted to the Afghan forces’ move to stop the fencing and said that Pakistan will continue fencing the border.