The Taliban government in Afghanistan said on Tuesday that issues related to the fencing of Pak-Afghan border would be addressed through diplomatic channels, echoing an earlier statement by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Qureshi, during a press conference in Islamabad on Monday, had acknowledged that there were “some complications” pertaining to the fencing of Pak-Afghan border but added that the matter was being discussed with the Afghan Taliban government as he blamed “certain miscreants” for blowing such incidents out of proportion.
Taking to Twitter, Taliban foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said: “Recently, a few incidents have taken place along the Durand Line between Afghanistan and Pakistan that have given rise to the need for the authorities of the two sides to address the problem.”
The official said that the Taliban government, which believed in addressing problems through “understanding, talks and good neighbourliness”, would address the issue through diplomatic channels.
Dawn.com has also learnt that the Pakistani embassy in Kabul has sought an official response from the Taliban government over the issue.
Over the past few weeks, videos have surfaced on social media purportedly showing Taliban fighters uprooting a portion of the fence along the Pak-Afghan border, claiming that the fencing had been erected inside Afghan territory.
In a more recent video being shared on Twitter, Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarzmi was seen saying that Pakistan had no right to fence the border and create a divide, adding that such a move was “inappropriate and against the law”.
Last month, a video went viral on Twitter that showed Taliban soldiers seizing spools of barbed wire, with a senior official asking Pakistani soldiers stationed at security posts in the distance not to try to fence the border again.
Fencing amounts to dividing a nation: Taliban spokesman
Earlier, Taliban spokesman and Afghanistan’s acting information minister Zabihullah Mujahid had issued a statement in an apparent contradiction of FM Qureshi’s comments, saying that there was no need for border fencing by Pakistan as the issue of the Durand Line had not yet been resolved.
“The issue of the Durand Line is still an unresolved one, while the construction of fencing itself creates rifts between a nation spread across both sides of the border. It amounts to dividing a nation,” Mujahid said in a recent interview with a local YouTube channel in Kabul.
“As this issue is still unresolved, there was no need for fencing at all,” he told the Paktiawal Official channel.
Mujahid said the people living on both sides of the border had connections with each other and fencing was like creating a disconnect between them.
“The Durand Line has divided one nation along both sides. We do not want it at all. We want a rational and logical solution to the problem,” the Taliban spokesman maintained.
Like the previous Afghan governments, the Taliban rulers also consider the border as an artificial line, while Pakistan considers the border with Afghanistan as a settled issue and a closed chapter.
The Durand Line agreement was signed between Afghan King Abdul Rahman Khan and British India’s Foreign Secretary Sir Mortimer Durand in 1893. The Durand Line constitutes part of the current border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and not the entire mutual border.
Pakistan has been fencing the 2600-kilometer-long border with Afghanistan since 2017 to end terrorist infiltration and smuggling despite very intense opposition from Afghanistan. Besides erection of fence, the project also includes the construction of border posts and forts, and raising of new wings of Frontier Corps, the paramilitary force that guards the border.