Taliban again destroy
barbed fences, clashes with
Pak troops at Durand

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KABUL: For the second time in a week, the Taliban and Pakistani forces clashed at the Durand Line border after the latter allegedly tried to extend the barbed wire fences into the Afghanistan territory.

According to local media reports, the clash took place on Thursday in Afghanistan’s southeastern Nimroz province at Charborjak district.

The two allies Afghan Taliban and the Pakistan government are at loggerheads over the border region known as the Durand line. In the latest, there has been a fresh exchange of fire between the parties, and that comes after the Taliban has uprooted barbed wires erected by Islamabad in east Nangarhar province along the Durand line.

Taliban dismantled barbed wire fence at Mingora post.

It is being reported that the Pakistani forces tried to extend the border fences 10 kilometres into the Afghanistan territory, prompting the Taliban personnel to tear down the barbed wires.

On December 22, both the forces had clashed in the eastern Nangarhar province over the fencing issue. According to the Afghanistan-based Khama Press (KP) news agency, the Taliban forces uprooted barbed wires erected by the Pakistan security forces and brought it to Afghanistan.

A video of the incident had gone viral, showing Afghanistan forces threatening their Pakistani counterparts with harsh repercussions if another attempt was made to erect barbed wires along the border.

Outposts at Nimroz The Taliban’s local affiliates have said that they have stopped the Pakistani military from erecting barbed-wire fences and outposts in Afghanistan’s western Nimroz province, reported local media.
The Pakistani military personnel reportedly wanted to build their outpost on Afghanistan soil in Chahar Burjak district of Nimroz province, reported Khaama Press. The Pakistani military went up to 15 kilometres inside Afghanistan and wanted to build check posts, said eyewitnesses and residents of the bordering district.

Barbed wire fence along Pakistan-Afghanistan 2,600km

Pakistan has not commented on the matter so far. This comes a week after the Taliban’s provincial head of the General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) destroyed the barbed wire of the Pakistani military in eastern Nangarhar province and warned them of repercussions in case they build fences on Afghan soil.
The two countries have been at loggerheads over the nearly 2,400 kilometres of Durand Line which has always been a matter of conflict and chaos between the two sides especially after Pakistan started erecting fences on the line, according to Khaama Press.

Following clashes between Taliban and Pak troops at Durand Line and again removal of barbed wire fences at the borders by Taliban, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday acknowledged that there were “some complications” pertaining to the fencing of Pak-Afghan border but added that the matter was being discussed with the Afghan Taliban government as he blamed “certain miscreants” for blowing such incidents out of proportion.

Qureshi made these remarks during a press conference in Islamabad when he was asked about a video circulating on social media purportedly showing Taliban fighters uprooting a portion of Pak-Afghan fence along their side of the border.

“We learned that such incidents occurred in the past few days and we have taken up the issue with the Afghan government at diplomatic level,” Qureshi said.

Afghan Taliban alert in capital Kabul

The minister, however, downplayed the incident, telling Dawn.com: “Certain miscreants are raising this issue unnecessarily, but we are looking into it and we are in contact with the Afghan government. Hopefully, we would be able to resolve the issue diplomatically.”

In a separate video that circulated last month on social media, Taliban soldiers were seen seizing spools of barbed wire, with a senior official asking Pakistani soldiers stationed in security posts in the distance not to try to fence the border again.

Afghan defence ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi had said Taliban forces stopped the Pakistani military from erecting what he called an “illegal” border fence along with the eastern province of Nangarhar on Sunday.

Pakistan has fenced most of the 2,600km border des­pite protestations from Kabul, which has contested the British-era boundary demarcation that splits families and tribes on either side.

The fencing was the main reason behind the souring of relations between previous US-backed Afghan governments and Islamabad. The current standoff indicates the issue remains a contentious matter for the Taliban, despite its close ties to Islamabad.

The lawless mountainous border was historically fluid before Pakistan began erecting a metal fence four years ago, of which it has completed 90 per cent.

Pak concerns conveyed to Afghan Taliban

Pakistan has conveyed its concerns at the highest level to the interim Afghan Taliban government over the repeated incidents where some local Taliban soldiers tried to remove fencing along the border.

The Afghan Taliban leadership was told that Pakistan was observing “maximum restraint” to avoid any escalation in tensions, a senior Pakistani official told The Express Tribune here on Sunday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Nevertheless, Pakistan is expected to issue a formal statement on the issue within 24 hours, as per official sources.

In recent weeks, there have been repeated incidents along the Pak-Afghan border where some local Taliban soldiers tried to remove the fence.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Monday.

The first incident took place on December 18, a day before Pakistan was to host an extraordinary conference of the foreign ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Afghanistan’s humanitarian situation. The acting Afghan foreign minister also attended the daylong meeting, which agreed to set up a trust fund to help Afghanistan prevent the humanitarian catastrophe.

A video circulated on social media showed Taliban soldiers seizing spools of barbed wire and one senior official warning Pakistani soldiers stationed at security posts not to try to fence the border again.

On Sunday, another video was shared on the social media showing Taliban fighters breaking polls one after the other using a truck.

As per Kabul News, in a video statement the Afghan defence ministry spokesperson said they would not allow fencing since it “divides” the families on both sides of the border. There was no formal reaction from Pakistan to the remarks.

But officials in background discussions said Pakistan was taking up the issue at all levels. According to Pakistan’s assessment, there seems some local Taliban commanders who were provoking Pakistani forces on their own. Pakistan, the official pointed out, was observing maximum restraint. One official claimed that the Afghan Taliban leadership was also worried about the conduct of their low-level soldiers since they understood the importance of Pakistan cooperation in this difficult juncture.