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Kabul Welcomes Fence, But Not As Border Marker

Much of the Afghan-Pakistani border is not patrolled (ITAR-TASS) KABUL, November 6, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kabul says it would welcome moves by Pakistan to fence off its border with Afghanistan -- provided the construction is only for the purpose of stopping cross-border infiltrations by militants.

But Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Sultan Ahmad Baheen told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan today that such a fence cannot be accepted by Kabul as a formal border-demarcation line.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri said on November 5 that his country is willing to fence off the border to stop militants. The offer came at a meeting in Islamabad with visiting Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot.

Bot said he would discuss the offer with other NATO partners who have troops in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan And Pakistan

Afghanistan And Pakistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (left) with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad in October 2005 (epa)

ACROSS A DIFFICULT BORDER. The contested border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is some 2,500 kilometers long and runs through some of the most rugged, inhospitable territory on Earth. Controlling that border and preventing Taliban militants from using Pakistan as a staging ground for attacks in Afghanistan is an essential part of the U.S.-led international coalition's strategy for stabilizing Afghanistan. Officials in Kabul have been pointing their fingers at Pakistan for some time, accusing Islamabad or intelligence services of turning a blind eye to cross-border terrorism targeting the Afghan central government. Many observers remain convinced that much of the former Taliban regime's leadership -- along with leaders of Al-Qaeda -- are operating in the lawless Afghan-Pakistani border region.... (more)


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