Pakistan–Afghanistan barrier

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The Pakistan–Afghanistan barrier is an under-construction border barrier designed to prevent illegal movement and infiltration across the Durand Line, the porous, 2,640 miles (4,250 km) international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.[1] Major-General Shaukat Sultan, former Pakistani presidential spokesman, said that the move is considered necessary to blocking the infiltration of militants across the border.[2] The 1,500-mile (2,400 km) proposed fence was initially backed by the United States.[3]

Fencing[edit]

In September 2005, Pakistan stated it had plans to build a 1,500-mile (2,400 km) fence along its border with Afghanistan to prevent insurgents and drug smugglers slipping between the two countries. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had subsequently offered to mine the border as well.[4][5]

The plans to fence and mine the border were again considered in 2007 and then in 2009, but they were not fully implemented. However, a 35 kilometres (22 mi) long portion along selected border areas was fenced and the work was discontinued for lack of funds.[6] In June 2011, Major General Athar Abbas, the then spokesman for the army, said: "We did fence around 35km of the border area as it faced continuous militant incursions. It was a joint project of ISAF and Afghanistan. But then they backed out. It was a very costly project."[7] During the Musharraf period, a biometric system was installed by Pakistan on border crossings. Afghanistan had objected to the system. The bio-metric system remains intact at the border, although it is yet to be made fully functional.[8]

Construction progress[edit]

Pakistan started digging a 1,100 km trench along the Afghan border in Balochistan to ensure proper border-management, and the construction completed by June 2016 after work of 3 years.[9] The excavation was carried out by the Pakistani Frontier Corps. The purpose of the trench is to counter the flow of militants, smugglers, illegal movement and narcotics, as well as tighten security on the border.[8] Three construction companies from Balochistan had been awarded the contract for supply of manpower and for arrangements," a Balochistan province official said. Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said, "The 11-foot deep and 14-foot wide ditch will be dug along the entire stretch of the border."[10]

Afghan opposition[edit]

The Pakistani plans for mining and fencing the border were renewed on 26 December 2006, but these plans were opposed by the Afghan government, citing that the fencing would result in "the limitation of the freedom of movement of Pushtun tribes people".[11] Due to the Afghan opposition to the border fencing, the Angor Adda and Sheken areas saw a border skirmish in April 2007.[12] On 1 April 2013, the Afghan Foreign Ministry formally protested and raised 'grave concerns' over what it called "the Pakistani military's unilateral construction and physical reinforcement activities along the border in the eastern Ningarhar province".[13]

Afghanistan does not recognize the Durand Line itself as a legitimate border between it and Pakistan, as it divides the Pashtun ethnic homeland in two.[14] Afghanistan contends that the installation of a physical barrier would make this border permanent.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rahi, Arwin (21 February 2014). "Why the Durand Line Matters". The Diplomat. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Afghanistan-Pakistan: Focus on bilateral border dispute". IRIN. 30 October 2003. Archived from the original on July 25, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  3. ^ "US backs Pakistani-Afghan border fence". The Guardian. 14 September 2005. Archived from the original on July 25, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Pakistan doing all it can in terror war - Musharraf". Turkish weekly. February 28, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-03. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said on Monday his country was doing all it could in the U.S.-led war against terrorism and offered to fence and mine its border with Afghanistan to stem Taliban infiltration. "I have been telling Karzai and the United States, 'Let us fence the border and let us mine it.' Today I say it again. Let us mine their entire border. Let us fence it. It's not difficult", Musharraf said, referring to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. 
  5. ^ Plett, Barbara (March 1, 2006). "Musharraf interview: Full transcript". BBC News. Retrieved 2006-12-03. Now the other thing that I've said: if he thinks everyone is crossing from here, I've been saying let us fence the border and let us also mine the border. We are experts at mining, they should mine the border on their side. We will fence it on our side. If that is all right I am for it, so that they are not allowed to go across at all. And then let us see what is happening in Afghanistan. Why don't they agree to this, I've said this openly many times before, they don't do it, for whatever are their reasons. I know how effective the fence, the Indian fence which is about 1,800 kilometres, and they are fencing the Kashmir mountains also, it is so difficult. Why are they doing that, are they mad, they are spending billions of rupees. Because it is effective. Let's fence this border so that this blame game is killed once for ever. 
  6. ^ "Pakistan to mine, fence Afghan border". The Nation. June 24, 2011. Archived from the original on July 25, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Plan to fence, mine Afghan border". The Nation. June 23, 2011. Archived from the original on July 25, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Shah, Syed Ali (13 September 2014). "Trench dug at Pak-Afghan border to stop infiltration of terrorists". Dawn. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "1,100km trench built alongside Pak-Afghan border in Balochistan". Qaiser Butt. The Express Tribune. June 20, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Cross-border movement: Ditch along Pak-Afghan border to cost Rs14 billion". The Express Tribune. January 3, 2015. Archived from the original on January 3, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Pakistan to mine and fence Afghan border". Financial Times. December 27, 2006. Archived from the original on July 25, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Clash erupts between Afghan, Pakistani forces over border fence". Monsters and Critics. April 20, 2007. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Afghanistan protests Pakistan's border 'construction, physical reinforcement'". The Express Tribune. April 1, 2013. Archived from the original on July 25, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Karzai Orders Removal Of Pakistani Border Gate". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 13 April 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "Pakistan progress on Afghan fence". BBC. 10 May 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2014.