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Pakistan Begins Fencing of Afghan Border

Pakistan says it has started fencing off its long border with Afghanistan and areas vulnerable to cross-border militant attacks are being given priority.

Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa revealed the project during a visit Saturday to tribal districts, including Mohmand, near the Afghan border where “terrorists” assaulted outposts from across the other side and killed five Pakistani soldiers this month.

Bajwa identified Mohmand and neighboring Bajaur district as “high threat zones”, saying fencing them is the military’s high priority.

An army statement quoted him as saying that efforts are also underway to “evolve a border security mechanism” with Afghan authorities.

“A better managed, secure and peaceful border is in mutual interest of both brotherly countries who have given phenomenal sacrifices in war against terrorism,” the general said.

Without elaborating, the Pakistan army chief said that “technical surveillance means” are also being deployed in addition to regular air surveillance to enhance the border security.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share a nearly 2,600 kilometer, largely porous, border and both blame each other for encouraging terrorist infiltration to support deadly attacks on their respective soils.

Relations between the countries have nosedived in the last two years over mutual terrorism allegations.

Islamabad closed all border crossings with the landlocked country a month ago, saying terrorist attacks in Pakistan were being orchestrated by fugitive anti-state militants sheltering in Afghan border areas.

Pakistan reopened the crossings earlier this week to allow legal travelers and thousands of stranded Afghanistan-bound shipping containers to resume their journey.

Kabul rejects charges anti-Pakistan militants are using Afghan soil for cross-border attacks and instead demanded Islamabad close insurgent sanctuaries on its side of the border being used to fuel violence in Afghanistan, charges Pakistani authorities deny.

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