Pakistan likely to issue formal statement on Pakistan Afghanistan Border fencing controversy

ISLAMABAD/KABUL: Pakistan is likely to issue a formal statement regarding the removal of fencing by Taliban fighters on the Pakistan Afghanistan border in the next 24 hours, The Pakistan Daily has learnt.

Videos circulating on social media showed groups of Taliban fighters removing the fencing erected by Pakistan on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to informed sources, Pakistan has so far exercised maximum restraint in regards to the behaviour of some elements of the Afghan Taliban that have damaged the border fencing.

On December 18, a day before the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, Pakistani authorities learnt of initial attempts by some Taliban fighters of removing the fencing.

Further videos were released reflecting continuous attempts to disrupt the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Kabul News quoted a spokesperson of the Afghan Defence Ministry led by 32-year-old Mullah Yaqoob (son of Mullah Omar) as saying that the Taliban would not allow fencing since it divided families and tribes who lived in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Pakistan Daily has learnt that Pakistan has raised this point at the highest levels and that the senior Taliban leaders have been made aware of Pakistan’s unprecedented restraint regarding this issue.

According to sources from within the upper echelons of the Afghan Taliban, the junior cadres are not fully under their control and it becomes difficult to stop fighters who undertake such operations without authorisation from the top leadership.

Various former Afghan officials, police officers and soldiers have also been murdered by junior Taliban fighters despite the announcement of a general amnesty by the senior Taliban leadership.

Pakistan is also concerned about terrorists and criminal elements taking advantage of the lapses in the Pakistan Afghanistan border as they will be able to travel freely without border controls between Pakistan and Afghanistan if the border is not respected.

Officials in Pakistan believe that some elements in Afghanistan may want to provoke Pakistan at a crucial time when Pakistan is at the forefront of humanitarian efforts to ensure sufficient aid for the people of Afghanistan.

A source privy to these developments told The Pakistan Daily that fencing across the Pakistan – Afghanistan border would continue and that 90% of the 2600 Kilometer border had already been fenced.

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