Pakistan, Afghanistan lock horns on posts along Afghan border

Border troops of Pakistan and Afghanistan clashed today, even as the two countries engaged in a war of words over construction of security posts along their porous border.

Afghan and Pakistani troops exchanged fire at a contested border area in Goshta district in eastern Afghanistan, days after an Afghan border policeman was killed at the same place, according to media reports.

Afghan officials claim that Pakistani forces have built posts on their side of the border.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday that he had instructed his forces to destroy Pakistani constructions on Afghan soil.

Meanwhile, Pakistan foreign ministry said that the posts on Pakistan-Afghanistan border are serving the useful and mutually beneficial purpose of better border management, which is crucial for interdicting cross-border undesirable activity.

The ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry reaffirmed the need to use bilateral channels including military to military contacts to resolve the issues relating to posts.

“In several high level interactions in recent past, the leadership of Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed on the imperatives of a mechanism for an effective border management for the mutual benefit of the two countries,” he said in a statement.

On President Karzai’s remarks, Chaudhry recalled that the Pakistani post in Gursal had come under attack from Afghan forces and there had been several threatening and provocative statements made by the Afghan leadership in this regard.

Responding to a query regarding President Karzai’s remarks that his country will never recognise Durand Line, that divides the two countries, the Pakistani spokesperson said that the issue is a settled one.

“Opening discussions on this issue is a distraction from the more pressing issues requiring the priority attention and cooperation of Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he said.

When drawn attention to the parts of the statement where the Afghan President urges Taliban to “turn and target” and “aim their weapons at” Afghanistan’s enemies, Chaudhry said that the continuing fight against terrorism and extremism warrants Pakistan, Afghanistan and all other stakeholders to work together in a spirit of cooperation and harmony.

He recalled that President Karzai had in the past asked Pakistan to use its influence on the Taliban to enter into dialogue for reconciliation process and that Pakistan had responded positively to that call.

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