ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Thursday categorically rejected a claim by Afghanistan that the military was “illegally” fencing the Pak-Afghan border. In a statement, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said the fencing along the Pak-Afghan border was being done to address Pakistan’s serious security concerns and was fully in accordance with the established norms of international law, without encroaching into Afghan territory. Afghanistan has been critical of Pakistan’s border management project because Kabul disputes the former British-era demarcation it refers to as the Durand Line. Pakistan dismisses the objections and maintains the boundary with Afghanistan was an internationally recognized border between the two countries.

The tensions have triggered border skirmishes between Pakistani and Afghan security forces. Kabul alleges leaders and fighters of the Afghan Taliban use Pakistani soil for planning and sustaining attacks inside Afghanistan. Islamabad says that fugitive militants, after having fled Pakistan counterterrorism operations, have taken refuge in Afghan border areas and plot cross-border attacks from there.  Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said the Afghan side would be well-advised to engage on border matters through the relevant institutional mechanisms to address any misconceptions. “Regrettably, Pakistan’s suggestion for conducting joint topographic surveys had not been positively responded to by the Afghan side,” he said.