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ISLAMABAD: Tensions are high on Pakistan-Afghan border near Kharlachi-Borki crossing point due to hotly contested ownership of two border posts with heavy deployment of forces by Pakistan and Afghanistan on their sides of the border.

Government officials of Kurram district administration and the locals told Business Recorder that heavy weapons had been moved to the border by both countries following an escalation in tensions.

The local officials told this correspondent that the Afghan Taliban government raised objections on two border posts built by Pakistan as part of a comprehensive border management mechanism that include fencing of 2640km erstwhile porous border with Afghanistan.

They said that tensions escalated following Pakistani security forces opening fire and killing a suspected militant on July 27, who was attempting to scale the fence and enter Pakistan illegally.

Following the incident, the local Taliban authorities unilaterally shut the designated Kharlachi-Boraki border crossing for trade activities. Since then, a number of meetings of the border officials from both sides took place but with no progress so far.

The locals in the bordering villages, including Kharlachi, Borkai, Shingak, and Pewar, said they had enhanced vigilance due to fear of an attack from across the border adding they could hear movement of heavy weaponry and troops from across the border.

The Taliban authorities have asked the residents of bordering villages, including Estiya, DandaPathan, Nargisai, and others to vacate their homes and move their families to safer areas.

The locals on Pakistan side of the border said that until Tuesday night, the Afghan security forces were conducting military exercises by testing heaving weapons across the border which had further escalated the risk of a bloody clash as a vast population resided on both sides of the border.

Meanwhile, official sources said that preparations were under way and all necessary measures had been under taken to foil any cross-border aggression. A senior official of the civil administration of Kurram tribal district said on condition of anonymity that Pakistani security forces were exercising restraints while keeping a close eye on the situations. “We don’t want to escalate the tension and hope that the issue is resolved peacefully, as the two sides are still in touch,” the official added.

Pakistan began fencing its border with Afghanistan in March 2017, after facing a spate of deadly attacks from Afghanistan-based militant groups.

The Afghan government has been raising objections over the fencing which is aimed at preventing illegal cross-border movement.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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