Pakistan has started building a 2,300-kilometre fence along its border with Afghanistan, despite criticism from Kabul. The $500 million barrier is designed to help prevent attacks by militants.
The country shares a mountainous and largely unpatrolled border with Afghanistan, allowing the regular cross-border movement of people.
Previous attempt to fence or formally demarcate the border have met with resistance from Kabul.
Since the 9/11 attacks in the US and the subsequent start of the war on terror, the tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border became home to terrorists. They have carried out attacks on both sides of the border and found sanctuaries in these areas.
Recently, Pakistan began fencing the border, to halt the cross-border movement. South Waziristan Region Commander Major General Nauman Zakaria said, “most of the area which is crossable, which is more critical, sensitive from our point of view, from Afghan’s point of view, where the control lacks, from their side, is going to be completely fenced.”
In addition to the fence, surveillance technology is also being installed along the border to prevent attacks. Forts and watch towers are being built. As many as 750 forts have been planned every one and a half to three kilometres. Nearly 100 forts have already been constructed.
US President Donald Trump has accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorists. But security experts like Arched Sharif say that Pakistan has done its part. “Almost 40 per cent of the country is under the control of the Afghan Taliban. There are failures; they have been blaming Pakistan and now with the fencing that excuse has also gone. Now they will have to find something else to cry about, vis-a-vis Pakistan and the measures that Pakistan is taking. ”
According to the Pakistan Army, high-infiltration-prone border areas in Bajaur, Mohmand and Khyber are being fenced in the first phase. The remaining border areas, including Balochistan, will be completed in the second phase.