Pakistan resumes construction of Torkham border gate


Undeterred by Afghan forces’ unprovoked firing, the Pakistani authorities have resumed construction of the gate at Torkham border on Wednesday (today) while the security men on both sides of the border remain alerted.

Pakistan has dispatched more troops and weapons to the volatile border amid an escalation in tension between the two neighbors. Curfew is still imposed in the area.

The fighting erupted along the Torkham border on Sunday night and continued erratically over the next two days, apparently after Afghan forces objected to the construction of a gate on the Pakistani side.

The conflict prompted bitter recriminations on both sides, with Islamabad and Kabul summoning each other’s diplomats to lodge strong formal complaints.

A Pakistani military officer was also killed and 18 others, many of them civilians, were wounded in unprovoked firing by Afghan forces.

Pak Army justified the construction of the gate at Torkham, saying “terrorists” were using the busy crossing point.

“In order to check movement of terrorists through Torkham, Pakistan is constructing a gate on (our) own side of the border as a necessity to check unwanted and illegal movement,” the military said in a statement onMonday.

Torkham is one of the major crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where hundreds of trucks and thousands of people cross the border daily through the Khyber Pass.

The border was closed over similar clashes last month but was reopened after an understanding was reached between the two countries.

The Pakistan-Afghanistan border has long remained porous and disputed. Afghanistan has blocked repeated attempts by Pakistan to build a fence on sections of the roughly 2,200-km (1,370-mile) long frontier, rejecting the contours of the boundary.

Last month, Pakistan build a border post between Pakistan’s South Waziristan and Afghanistan’s Paktika province and handed it over to Afghan officials.

Hours later, Afghan authorities shut the post, saying that the actual border lay about a kilometre inside Pakistani territory.



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