Pakistan faces’ border hassles’ from Taliban


New Delhi: What Indian experts and official channels have been cautioning has come true. In a video posted on Twitter, the Taliban’s defence ministry said Pakistan had ‘no right’ to fence the border-the historic Durand Line-and divide ethnic Pashtuns living on either side in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The radical extremists were emboldened by the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan, and a section even aspired to do the same in Pakistan, adding to the woes of the beleaguered Pakistani establishment.

The Pakistani-Afghan border, running along Britain’s colonial-era Durand Line, has become a centre of the increasing tensions between the Pakistani government, authorities and the Taliban.

On Sunday, five Pakistani soldiers were killed at a north-western border post in Khurram district by militants inside Afghanistan in an attack claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP).

Not long ago, Pakistani foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, had said, “If the Taliban cannot address concerns of Pakistan, then who would trust them and their promise of cutting ties to al-Qaida and other such groups?”

Pakistan has an old record of clashing with the US-backed Afghan government over the border–which Afghanistan has never formally accepted. For some time, Pakistani authorities believed the Taliban would serve ‘Pakistan’s interests’ and not allow militants to use its soil against Pakistan. But it does not seem to be the case.

Pakistan started fencing the porous border in 2014 to contain “cross-border terrorist attacks and smuggling”. It says it has fenced more than 90 per cent of the border, but reports suggest militants were able to enter Pakistan and carry out attacks and their activities are unchecked.

In at least three separate incidents, Talib fighters have been seen breaking the fencing and threatening Pakistani soldiers in border areas, says a report.

One video from December 19, 2021, says a Talib commander in Nangarhar is heard saying to Pakistani soldiers: “If you come a step further, I will fight you here. We are happy to fight you.” A similar incident was recorded last year on December 30 in southwest Afghanistan.

Of course, amid tensions on the border, Pakistan’s national security adviser, Moeed Yusuf, visited Afghanistan for two days, January 29 and 30.

Drawn by the British empire, the 2,640 km land border between Afghanistan and Pakistan has been perpetually disputed, reports say.


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