The Afghan Taliban have acceded to the construction of fencing along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, according to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, who has announced that Pakistan would build the final 21 kilometers of border fencing ‘with the consent of our brothers.’
As of 4 January, Pakistan had reportedly fenced 94 percent of the 2,600 kilometer border, according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) director general Major General Babar Iftikhar.
The announcement seemingly caps Pakistan’s ongoing border fencing dispute with its neighbor to the west. Successive governments in Kabul have opposed the fence and denounced the Durand Line as a colonial holdover from the British-era, designed to divide and conquer Pashtun families and culture.
In recent weeks, the Afghan Taliban had also railed against the border wall, with Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarzmi saying that Pakistan had ‘no right‘ to construct a border wall. Videos circulated on social media earlier this year of purported Taliban fighters destroying the border fence and carrying away spools of barbed wire.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had downplayed Kabul’s protestations, saying while there were ‘some complications’ between the two countries, the extent of the disagreement was being blown out of proportion by ‘certain miscreants.’
More recently, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had seemed to reach a diplomatic understanding with his Afghan counterparts, and Afghan foreign ministry spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi issued a statement confirming that the two governments had vowed to remain ‘good neighbours.‘