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Pakistan Begins Fencing Border With Afghanistan


People cross into Afghanistan at the Pakistani-Afghan border in Chaman.

Pakistan says it will soon begin building a fence along its volatile border with Afghanistan to improve security, a move that has sparked condemnations in Kabul.

The Pakistani Army said in a statement on June 20 that the first phase of fencing will focus on the Bajur, Mohmand, and Khyber tribal regions -- all regarded by authorities as areas prone to cross-border infiltration by various militant groups.

The statement also said that new forts and border posts will be built to improve defense and surveillance along the frontier.

A secure border "is in the common interest of both countries and a well-coordinated border-security mechanism is essential for enduring peace and stability," the statement said.

Afghan authorities, however, are opposed to the building of the fence.

The Associated Press news agency quoted Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for Afghanistan's Interior Ministry, as saying, "Pakistan has no right to fence or construct any building along the border with Afghanistan.”

Danish warned of retaliatory action, referring to previous clashes that erupted when Pakistan sought to build border fortifications.

The two countries share a 2,400-kilometer border known as the Durand Line, which Pakistan considers to be an international border but Afghanistan has never recognized.

Afghanistan and Pakistan often accuse each other of turning a blind eye to militant groups operating along their porous border.

Based on reporting by AP and Dawn.com
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