Islamabad is engaging with the Afghan Taliban to "diplomatically" resolve some "confusions" over the fencing exercise, says Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Pakistan, which shares a border of almost 2,670 km with Afghanistan, began the fencing in 2017 to block militant infiltration, smuggling and other illegal crossings.
Pakistan, which shares a border of almost 2,670 km with Afghanistan, began the fencing in 2017 to block militant infiltration, smuggling and other illegal crossings. (Reuters Archive)

Pakistan has vowed to protect its interests and continue fencing its porous border with Afghanistan, its top diplomat has said, weeks after Taliban soldiers disrupted the erecting of a security fence by the Pakistani authorities along the border between the two countries.

Pakistan is engaging with the Taliban to "diplomatically" resolve some "confusions" over the fencing exercise, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told media on Monday.

"We are not silent. We have fenced the border (with Afghanistan), and it will continue," Qureshi said.

READ MORE: Taliban stops Pakistan army from fencing border along Nangarhar

Late last month, Pakistani soldiers were stopped from installing a security fence along the eastern province of Nangarhar, the first such incident since the Taliban came to power in mid-August 2021.

The border incident happened the day foreign delegates from around the world gathered in Islamabad for a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to discuss the unfolding humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan.

Islamabad previously claimed that the row was resolved and the two sides agreed to work with "consensus."

"Afghanistan is our brotherly and friendly country. Some quarters want to unnecessarily raise this issue, which is not in Pakistan’s interest," he went on to say, reiterating that the dispute is being handled through diplomatic channels.

Pakistan, which shares a border of almost 2,670 kilometres with Afghanistan, began the fencing in 2017 to block militant infiltration, smuggling and other illegal crossings.

According to the government, more than 90 percent of the work has been completed.

Durand Line

Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan share 18 crossing points, with the busiest ones being the northwestern Torkham and Chaman border posts.

Afghanistan does not recognise the Durand Line – the de facto border between the two countries – on the grounds that it was created by a British colonial regime "to divide ethnic Pashtuns."

The border was established in 1893 in line with an agreement between India under British colonial rule and Abdur Rahman Khan, the then-ruler of Afghanistan.

Islamabad, however, insists the Durand Line is a permanent border between the neighbours.

The border standoff indicates the matter remains a contentious issue for the Taliban, despite its close ties to Islamabad.

'Pakistan will not join any camp'

To a query about Pakistan's stance amid rising tensions between the US and China, Qureshi asserted that Islamabad will not become part of any "camp."

Instead, he added, Pakistan will play a reconciliatory role to mitigate the tensions as it did in the 1960s.

"The US knows the nature of our relationship with China. It's not a zero-sum game," he maintained.

READ MORE: Pakistan and Afghanistan renew border row

Source: TRTWorld and agencies