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The fencing of Pakistan-Afghanistan border has contributed significantly to counterterrorism efforts by preventing illegal cross-border movement that enabled terrorists to launch attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor exclusively told Business Recorder that so far fencing of approximately 1,250 kilometres of Pakistan-Afghan border has been completed of the planned 2,611 kilometres, while the remaining around 1,361km will be completed within next year.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he said work on around 600kms has been completed out of a total 1,343kms planned to be fenced while in Balochistan around 650kms have already been fenced out of the total planned 1,268kms; and equipped with water, solar electricity, protection mines and around 317 border posts. Deployment on the posts has been made.
The DG ISPR further stated that a total of 843 border posts were planned to be constructed on the Pakistan-Afghan border of which 317-215 in KP and 102 in Balochistan - had been completed, while another 161 posts were under construction.
To a question about the completion of the overall process, he said those sections on priority would be completed by December 2019 or January 2020 while work on the remaining would be completed as soon as possible but within 2020.
Security sources further told Business Recorder that the project was scheduled for completion by December 2019 at a cost of Rs 70 billion and was now expected to be completed within the first quarter of 2020. The cost includes gadgets and surveillance equipment on illegal movement across the border.
The delay, according to the sources, is due to climate conditions, security threats from across the border and the escalation of tension with India that resulted in moving regular units from the Western to the Eastern border.
The authorities further stated that terrorists from across the border are frequently attacking security forces engaged in fencing the border due to which many security personnel have lost their lives.
However, sources added that majority of the sensitive areas had been fenced in and work on tough terrain remains, and was therefore taking more time.
The sources said that fencing on the border and installation of the surveillance technology had helped check the movement of terrorists from across the border and the situation would further improve after the project was completed next year.
Despite reservations by the Afghan government, Pakistan Army commenced work on the first phase on the 482km Pakistan-Afghanistan border in 2017 which was completed well before time bringing a visible decline in terror attacks and smuggling.
Earlier, in June 2016, Pakistan completed a 1,100km trench along the Afghan border in Balochistan to tighten border security by countering the flow of militants, smugglers, illegal movement and narcotics.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2019