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Afghanistan concerned at Pak border post ‘renovation`

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 15:58

Islamabad: Afghanistan has expressed grave concern over Pakistan`s "unilateral construction and physical reinforcement activities" along the border, an apprehension that was dismissed by Islamabad saying it was only renovating a post aimed at interdicting terrorists and criminals.

A day after Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin expressed the concerns, Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry today said Pakistan was only carrying out the routine renovation of an old post called Gursal that is "well inside Pakistani territory" bordering the Afghan province of Nangarhar.

Under new tripartite standard operating procedures for the border, both Afghanistan and Pakistan are supposed to inform each other about any new construction close to the frontier.

"Despite being a renovation work, Pakistan as a gesture of goodwill shared this information with the Afghan side," Chaudhry said.

"The renovation of the post is primarily meant to interdict terrorists and criminals as well as better management of the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan," he said in a statement.

Chaudhry contended that Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Ludin`s concerns about construction and physical reinforcement along the border were "not in keeping with the spirit of the understanding on good border management and the recently signed tripartite border standard operating procedures".

The spokesman also dismissed Ludin`s concern about rocket and artillery attacks against areas of Kunar province of Afghanistan, saying this has "not been found correct as no rocket or artillery shells have been fired by the Pakistan Army in recent days".

He said Pakistan remains committed to extending "all possible support and facilitation for peace, reconciliation and stability in Afghanistan".

Chaudhry said better management of the border by strengthening posts on both sides is in the interest of the two countries "to have an effective check over terrorists and criminals".

He added, "Pakistan suggests to the Afghan government to take similar measures on their side of the border".

Ludin had expressed grave concern about the "Pakistani military`s unilateral construction and physical reinforcement activities" along the border in eastern Nangarhar province.

A formal protest was lodged amidst growing diplomatic tension between the two neighbours, which led to the cancellation of a visit by a delegation of Afghan army officers last week.

Ludin spoke with Pakistani Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq and told him that the construction activities were against "all accepted international norms, provocative and unacceptable to the Afghan government, and that the government of Pakistan must halt them immediately", said a statement from the Afghan Foreign Ministry.

First Published: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 15:58
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