ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday rejected Afghanistan’s insinuation that the military was conducting “illegal fencing” along the Pakistan-Afghan border, adding that it was being done to address “serious security concerns”.
In a statement. FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said that the fencing was “fully in accordance with the established norms of international law without encroaching into Afghan territory”.
On Tuesday, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they had protested the move through diplomatic channels.
In a statement carried by Tolo News, the Afghan foreign ministry spokesperson said: “Any action which has been taken by Pakistan, the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has recorded its protest through the Afghan embassy in Islamabad to Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul.”
The report also quoted the deputy governor of Kunar as saying Pakistan was putting up fencing in a “shifty way” and claimed that residents living in remote areas of Kunar had also complained in phone calls to the media.
Reacting to the report, the FO spokesperson said that the Afghan side would be well-advised to engage on border matters through the relevant institutional mechanisms to “address any misconceptions”.
“Regrettably, Pakistan’s suggestion for conducting joint topographic surveys had not been positively responded to by the Afghan side,” he said.
The spokesperson also reaffirmed that Pakistan respected the territorial integrity of Afghanistan and conducted its relations with the brotherly country in accordance with the principles of the United Nations charter and expected “reciprocity from the Afghan side”.
On July 30, at least three people, including a woman, were killed and over 20 injured on the Pakistan side in a clash between an unruly mob and security forces at the Friendship Gate border crossing in Chaman, while a heavy exchange of fire also took place between Pakistani and Afghan security forces.
The FO had later said that Afghan forces had opened “unprovoked” fire on civilians gathered on Pakistan’s side of the Friendship Gate and the incident resulted in casualties after Pakistani troops responded to the fire “only in self-defence”.