Pakistan pushes for improved Afghan border management to control militants' movement

Pakistan pushes for improved Afghan border management to control militants' movement

ISLAMABAD: (APP) Pakistan is seeking cooperation from Afghanistan to secure their nearly 2,600 kilometer-long common border to consolidate achievements made in major military operations in tribal regions, Chinese news agency Xinhua says in a commentary.

Pakistan had long been insisting that loose border control benefits militants by allowing them to move freely across the border and carry out terrorist activities in both countries.

The military and other forces, after conducting major operations against the militants in tribal regions bordering Afghanistan in recent years, have now shifted their focus to border security to stop the cross-border movement of the militants.

There is no doubt that any border control mechanisms instituted will yield useful results when both countries implement the measures on their respective sides and boost the monitoring of the porous perimeter.

Military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said on February 1 that the leadership of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP has been "living in Afghanistan for a long time," which security officials describe as a serious challenge for anti-terrorism efforts.

As Pakistan and Afghanistan are still facing serious security problems, they need a joint understanding on a strong border management system on both sides to check illegal border crossings.

Pakistan had deployed a total of 34,000 Frontier Corps personnel along the border after the US launched its military action against the Taliban in 2001. Pakistani officials said more units of the paramilitary Frontier Corps are being trained for new check posts to be established along the Afghan border.

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who assumed office on November 30, has spoken twice with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani by phone and suggested a "robust border management mechanism." General Bajwa, in his meetings with some foreign military leaders, including the US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel, also reiterated his call for an effective and coordinated border management with Afghanistan.

Pakistani officials said that the TTP militants, who had claimed responsibility for major terrorist attacks in the country, particularly in the northwest Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and southwestern Balochistan provinces, entered Pakistan from Afghanistan.

The killing of several key TTP in Afghanistan in US drone strikes have strengthened Pakistan's stance on the presence of the militants on the Afghan side of the border.

United States and Afghan officials have also confirmed the killing in Afghanistan of TTP leaders, including Omar Mansoor, also known as Narai, the mastermind of the 2014 terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar that killed 150 people, mostly students.

Pakistani national Hafiz Saeed Khan, Daesh chief for the Khorasan region, was killed in a US drone attack in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar last year. Daesh spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, also a Pakistani national, was killed in a US drone strike along with dozens of the group's activists in Afghanistan in 2015.

Besides border management, the Pakistani military and other law enforcing agencies are carrying out combing and intelligence-based operations in the suspected hideouts of the militants and their facilitators, mostly in urban areas.

This strategy has been adopted to ward off the possible threats by the remnants of the Taliban, who are believed to have taken shelter in cities.