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ISLAMABAD: Afghan Taliban's purported return to patrol the border areas in Paktia province with Pakistan is said to have proved a blessing in disguise for the local people who have retrieved their arable land as fencing is being reinstalled at Zero Point of the border.

Residents in the border areas told Business Recorder that fencing on the border was earlier carried out between one and one and half kilometers inside Pakistani territory because of reservations expressed by the Afghan forces which are now being removed and installed at Zero Point on the border.

Local sources in Kurram tribal district said that Afghan forces recently surrendered and handed over the border management to the Taliban.

"Taliban hoisted White flags - the official flags of the Afghan Taliban Movement - on the border areas soon after they took control without any resistance from the Afghan forces," a local source along Kharlachi-Borki crossing point along Pakistan-Afghan border said.

An official of the local administration confirmed the development, saying that the Taliban have agreed to the proposal and the fencing is now being reinstalled at Zero Point. "This was a long-standing demand of local people, as thousands of acres of their fertile land had gone over to the Afghan side," the official said on condition of anonymity.

In March 2017, Pakistan started fencing its border with Afghanistan, after facing a spate of deadly attacks from Afghanistan-based terror groups such as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its splinter groups including Jamat-ul-Ahrar and other militant groups.

"As border management measures, almost 90 percent of the 2,670km [approximately] border with Afghanistan has been fenced with a view to checking the illegal cross-border movement and preventing the militants' infiltration," another official said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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