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Army repulses Pakistan’s Durand Line fence bid

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KABUL: Afghanistan’s military has pushed back a Pakistani forces’ bid to fence a portion of the Durand Line in Kandahar city outskirts and remain on the defensive mode, according to local authorities.

Security forces in Spin Boldak district of southern Kandahar province – sharing a porous border with Pakistan – have repelled Pakistani border troops who were attempting to fence the borderline with Afghanistan.

Kandahar gubernatorial spokesman, Bahir Ahmad Ahmadi, said Pakistan forces tried to force their way into Afghanistan early Sunday morning to install barbed wire along the zero point of the Durand Line along Spin Boldak. Security forces were quick enough to thwart the attempt, he said, adding that a delegation had travelled to the district to find a solution to the problem through dialogue.

Pakistan forces had – a few days earlier too – attempted to build border fence in Spin Boldak, according to a security source in Kandahar. He added that security forces were in a constant defensive position and a skirmish seemed imminent.

Spin Boldak residents have blasted at Pakistan’s unilateral decision to create a division between peoples between both sides of the gateways, touting it as against international norms.

Pakistani military officials insist that their fencing work along the Durand Line is aimed at improving border security. The issue of border fencing has remained highly contentious and Afghanistan has shown opposition to the plan. Moreover, Afghan and Pakistani security forces have engaged in firefight anytime Pakistani forces attempted a fencing operation.

Such incidents, which have claimed the lives of hundreds of border security personnel and others on both sides, have grown in frequency in recent years. Pakistan says the fence will check armed militants moving between the two countries. Afghanistan, which has not accepted the Durand Line as its border with Pakistan, disagrees. The controversial fence is adding tension to an already fraught bilateral relationship.

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