Concerns conveyed to Afghan Taliban on fencing incidents

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Concerns conveyed to Afghan Taliban on fencing incidents
Concerns conveyed to Afghan Taliban on fencing incidents
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Pakistan has conveyed its concerns at the highest level to the interim Afghan Taliban government over the repeated incidents where some local Taliban soldiers tried to remove fencing along the border.

The Afghan Taliban leadership was told that Pakistan was observing “maximum restraint” to avoid an escalation in tensions, a senior Pakistani official told The Express Tribune here on Sunday. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Nevertheless, Pakistan is expected to issue a formal statement on the issue within 24 hours, as per official sources.

In recent weeks, there have been repeated incidents along the Pak-Afghan border where some local Taliban soldiers tried to remove the fence.

The first incident took place on December 18, a day before Pakistan was to host an extraordinary conference of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Afghanistan’s humanitarian situation. The acting Afghan foreign minister also attended the daylong meeting, which agreed to set up a trust fund to help Afghanistan prevent the humanitarian catastrophe.

A video circulated on social media showed Taliban soldiers seizing spools of barbed wire and one senior official warning Pakistani soldiers stationed at security posts not to try to fence the border again.

On Sunday, another video was shared on social media showing Taliban fighters breaking polls one after the other using a truck.

As per Kabul News, in a video statement, the Afghan defence ministry spokesperson said they would not allow fencing since it “divides” the families on both sides of the border. There was no formal reaction from Pakistan to the remarks.

But officials in background discussions said Pakistan was taking up the issue at all levels. According to Pakistan’s assessment, there seems some local Taliban commanders were provoking Pakistani forces on their own. Pakistan, the official pointed out, was observing maximum restraint. One official claimed that the Afghan Taliban leadership was also worried about the conduct of their low-level soldiers since they understood the importance of Pakistan’s cooperation in this difficult juncture.

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