Pakistan has tactically paused its stance on the Durand border dispute with Afghanistan after its Defence Ministry said Islamabad has no right to fence the border and create a divide, adding that such a move was "inappropriate and against the law".
The Taliban, who operated from Pakistani territory for two decades before taking Kabul, want the Durand Line fencing to go. Taking advantage of a weak government in Kabul, and with a tacit nod from the United States that backed it, Pakistan had fenced most of the border despite protests from Kabul, Al Arabiya Post reported.
The media report said that a "red-faced Pakistan is having to tactically pause its stand on the border dispute with Afghanistan, even as it pleads with the world to rush humanitarian help to the beleaguered western neighbour."
Meanwhile, the tensions over the Durand Line fencing have recently escalated between Kabul and Islamabad.
According to the Afghans, the border, called the Durand Line, so named after the British officer who coerced the then-ailing Amir of Afghanistan into signing in 1893, is a colonial-era imposition. Culturally and emotionally, it runs through their idea of a 'Pushunistan', and divides the Pushtun tribal people through their families and homes, Al Arabiya Post reported.
It further reported that with the Taliban barely some months in power and still struggling, the border in their Nangarhar province flared up with mortar fire the last year-end. Taliban uprooted the fence and took away the barbed wire, threatening "war" if the Pakistanis persisted. However, there were no casualties.
Over the past two weeks, videos have surfaced on social media purportedly showing the Taliban uprooting a portion of the fence along the Pak-Afghan border, claiming that the fencing had been erected inside Afghan territory.
However, in a more recent video being shared on Twitter, Afghan Defence Ministry spokesperson 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", Al Arabiya Post reported.
It further reported that both sides have sought to play down the incident. After Kabul confirmed it, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on January 3 attributed the clash to "some miscreants." The issue would be "resolved at the diplomatic level," he announced.
Now, the Afghans are quiet and the Pakistani leadership is talking in varying tones, Al Arabiya Post reported.
Despite the Taliban's objection over border fencing, Pakistan has claimed that the fencing work alongside Durand Line has been completed by 94 per cent, Tolo News had reported. (ANI)