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Border security arrangement discussed with Afghanistan

By Our Staff Reporter 2014-05-20
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan began on Monday discussing border security arrangements after the completion of drawdown of international coalition forces later this year.

Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif travelled to Kabul for the discussions with his Afghan counterpart Gen Sher Muhammad Karimi.

The talks were also attended by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Commander General Joseph Dunford.

`The transfer of security responsibility to Afghan National Security Forces in the wake of US/ISAF drawdown, enhanced bilateralism between Pakistan and Afghanistan with particular emphasis on coordination arrangements along Pakistan-Afghanistan border was deliberated upon during the meeting,` a Pakistan military spokesman said.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share hundreds of miles long porous border that is currently being managed under a tripartite border coordination mechanism/accord involving both countries and ISAF. However, with drawdown of coalition forces from Afghanistan scheduled to be completed later this year, the tripartite arrangement would now be converted into a bilateral one managed by security forces of both countries.

Pakistan is currently having about 800 posts along the border, while there are close to 100 posts on the other side. Despite heavy military presence on both sides of the border, cross-border movements of militants (in both ways) have been a major area of concern.The military spokesman said the meeting also looked at the mechanism for dealing with border violations (by the militaries).

`It was agreed that existing coordination arrangements have to be strengthened by further improving liaison and communication between the two sides.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have quite often got involved in border disputes due to poorly defined Durand Line that serves as the international border. Last week an Afghan policeman was killed in an exchange of gunfire following a dispute over the location of a new Pakistani post. A similar border post dispute last year had led to a diplomatic standoff.

It is feared that the border disputes between Pakistan and Afghanistan would intensify after the drawdown of US and other international forces.

There have been attempts in Afghanistan overthe pastyeartoreopen the controversy over Durand Line. However, Pakistan government considers it to be a settled issue.

The spokesman said border security arrangements for the presidential run-off in Afghanistan scheduled for June 14 were also discussed in Gen Sharif`s meetings.

Pakistan had taken special measures for preventing unauthorised cross-border movement during the first round of elections in April virtually sealing the border and deploying thousands of additional troops.

Afghanistan expects Pakistan to take similar steps for the run-off polls.

Gen Sharif also met acting Afghan President Younis Qanooni and Afghan Defence Minister General Bismillah Muhammadi.