ISLAMABAD: In the wake of looming uncertainty in Afghanistan due to the withdrawal of the US troops, Pakistan on Saturday announced that it would complete the fencing of its border with the war-torn country by the end of June.
Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed stated this on the floor of the National Assembly, the Lower House of Parliament, the Dawn newspaper reported.
The minister informed the house that 88 per cent work on the fencing of the border with Afghanistan has been completed and the “rest would be completed by June 30”, it said.
The fencing of the 2,640-km-long border with Afghanistan began in March 2017 after a spate of attacks from across the porous border.
Pakistan shares a long and porous border with Afghanistan, which runs through mountainous terrain and is largely unpatrolled. The Durand Line was drawn by the British rulers in 1896 and is disputed by Afghanistan, which also resists Pakistani attempts to erect any border fence.
The barrier consists of two sets of chain-link fences, which is separated by a 2-metre space filled with concertina wire coils. The double-fence is 3.6 metres high on the Pakistani side and 4 metres on the Afghan side.
Surveillance cameras and infrared detectors have been installed and about 1,000 check posts are part of the security system along the fence. The movement across the border will be possible only through 16 designated crossings.
Initially, it was expected to be completed by April 2021 but due to some delay, now the government is committed to complete it by the end of June.
Officials said that Pakistan is working to augment the security apparatus on the western border due to withdrawal of the US troops which is feared to create a vacuum in Afghanistan, complicating the already fragile security situation with possible impact on Pakistan.
US President Joe Biden in April announced that all US troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11 to end America’s longest war that has cost trillions of dollars and the lives of over 2,400 American soldiers.
Alluding towards the situation in Afghanistan in the context of the US troops pullout, the minister noted that the next two to three months were very important for Pakistan because “right now infighting is going on at some 38 locations in Afghanistan”.
The minister also said that as many as 2,400 Afghan security personnel had joined the ranks of Taliban.