Hamid Karzai denounces Pakistaniâ€™s plans to fence the Afghan border
Pakistan and Afghanistan, both alliesÂ in the US war on terror, are no longer at ease. Pakistanâ€™s move on Tuesday to fence and mine most of itâ€™s 2,500km border with Afghanistan, as part of the war on terror to prevent cross border terrorism has increased tensions between the two countries.Â
Afghan president, Hamid KarzaiÂ speaking to reporters at a news conference in Kabul on Thursday, Dec. 28th blasted the move, describing it as “controversial” and further that if anything, it can only disrupt local communities and create hardship for ordinary Afghans. In fact, his fears could only be likened to the famous iron curtain that separated the former West Germany fromÂ East Germany. Consequently, he urged Pakistan to reconsider the move and reverse the decision.
Ironically, Pakistan reached that decision, following increasing criticism from Afghanistan thatÂ they were not doing enough to prevent cross border terrorist activities. Karzai expressed his concerns in the following words:
“We, politically, are against it. We, in terms of humanitarian values are against it. It’s only going to prevent, hinder movement by civilian families. So, if they mean a separation of people, that is the way. If they mean a prevention of terrorism, that is not the way.” Karzai lamented.
“Laying of mines or fencing the border will only separate people, families from each other. Rather than helping, it will cause people difficulty in movement, and in trade. We have suffered, and we are very much for the removal, prevention of mines,” He continued.
He regretted that Pakistan instead of taken the bulls (terrorist) by the horns is instead going about it. according to him, the best way to eradicate terrorism in both countries would be to destroy their safe havens, which as he suggested that Pakistan continues to turn a blind eye on.
“If we want to prevent terrorism from crossing the border into Afghanistan, if we want to prevent terrorism as a whole, forever, eradicate them, defeat them, then we must remove their sanctuaries,” He blasted.
The UN is also not at ease with the pakistani plan. As one UN official in Islamabad, Aleem SiddiqueÂ put it, it will put a country already contaminated with numerous mines into further risks.
“Afghanistan is already one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, and it’s very difficult to see how laying fresh mines would be of benefit to people living on either side of the border,” said Siddique.
PakistanÂ has already sent a contingent of 80,000 soldiers into the region to begin securing the border. Itâ€™s officials have dismissed emerging concerns, saying the securing moves will be limited within her frontiers.
“The Pakistan Army has been tasked to work outÂ the technicalities of selectively fencing and mining the Afghan border” Riaz Mohammad Khan, Pakistanâ€™s Foreign Secretary explained on Tuesday while announcing the plan. He added that cross border terrorism had become an “extraordinary situation” that need “extraordinary measures”.
But the major problem that arises is that theÂ border remains largely undefined more than one hundred years after they were first drawn by the British. Either side of the borders is inhabited by Pashtun tribesmen, who constantly enter both territories without any border hindrance.
Pakistan is just one of three countries beside UAE and Saudi Arabia that officially recognised the fundamental Taliban rule in Afghanistan, between 1996 to 2001,Â a regime thatÂ imposed the extremist form of sharia government throughout the country, as well as providing a safe haven for Al Qaeda and itâ€™s ring leaders, including Osama bin Laden, widely believed to be the masterminder behind the 9/11 terrorist attack on the USA.
The USA respondied by launchingÂ a counter attack, thus overthrowing the Taliban led regime in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Al Qaeda 9/11 attacks. Pakistan has had to pay the dearest price for ever daring to recognise such a controversial government, as most Taliban fighters and Al Qaeda operatives who survived the war, immediately fled Afghanistan into Pakistan, making it itâ€™s new seat of operation, whereupon the government of President Pervez Musharraf quickly paid allegiance to president George Bushâ€™s War on Terror (WOT), beefing up intelligence to track down any fugitives that may have taken refuge in the country.
AlthoughÂ Pakistan has registered some significant success, capturing wanted terrorists such as Al-Libbi, Number 3 in command to Bin laden, she is nevertheless still very far from winning that war within her frontiers. The Taliban fighters are believed to have regrouped at various ends in Pakistan, from where they have over the years since their overthrow launched spectacular guerrilla warfare on the NATO led forces that are overseeing he post Taliban Afghanistan. Ayman al-Zawahiri for one, said to be Al qaedaâ€™s number two who continues to release one propaganda video after another, to highlight the agenda of the terrorist organisation, is believed to be safely at large in pakistan. The organisationâ€™s ring leader himself, Osama bin Laden, if alive can be in no other place than a hideout in Pakistan.
By Amin George Forji
[Edited by Simon - Typos and clarity, approved post]