ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has begun fencing the frontier with Afghanistan to improve security, a move that has angered authorities in Kabul - which does not recognise Duran Line as an international border.

The phased fencing of entire Pak-Afghan border has commenced in line with the directives of Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, army’s media wing said on Tuesday.

In the phase one, high infiltration-prone border areas in Bajaur, Mohmand and Khyber agencies were being fenced, said a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

In phase two, the fencing of remaining border areas, including Balochistan, will be executed, it added.

It said, besides fencing, Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps are constructing new forts and border posts to improve surveillance and defensibility.

The 2,400-kilometer Durand Line, drawn by British rulers in 1896, line runs through ethnic Pashtun territory, dividing families and tribes between the two countries. Afghanistan and Pakistan have long accused each other of turning a blind eye to militants operating along the porous frontier, but Afghanistan is opposed to the building of the fence.

The fencing of the border is part of the new border mechanism Pakistan has started implementing to check the infiltration of terrorists.

“Pakistan has no right to fence or construct any building along the border with Afghanistan,” said Afghan Interior Ministry deputy spokesman Najib Danish. He warned of retaliatory action, referring to previous firefights that erupted when Pakistan sought to build border fortifications.

“In the past also Pakistan made a mistake by constructing buildings along the border and faced strong reaction from us. We hope they don’t repeat such mistakes once again,” he said.

But Pakistan says a secure border is in interest of both countries, and that Afghanistan should also have border management plans on its own side.

“A secure Pak-Afghan border is in common interest of both the countries and a well-coordinated border security mechanism is essential for peace and stability,” the ISPR statement said.

It said, so far 43 border posts and forts have been constructed while another 63 are under construction. As many as 338 border posts and forts are in the pipeline which will be completed by 2019, the statement added.

The US is considering to send additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan ostensibly to tackle security threats from Afghan Taliban as well as Islamic State also known as Daesh. A formal decision by President Trump administration is expected in this regard soon.

Two terrorists killed in Tank

Two suspected terrorists were killed in an exchange of fire with security forces in Tank district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to an ISPR statement, the terrorists were attempting to raid a checkpost near Dewana Baba Ziarat, some 12 kilometres north of Tank. But the forces fired back and killed two of them.

On the other hand, Punjab Rangers, CTD, police and intelligence agencies carried out joint search operations in areas around Mandi Bahauddin and Nilore, Islamabad.

Around seven suspects were arrested and illegal weapons and ammunition were recovered from them in the swoop, as part of the countrywide peace operation, Raddul Fasaad.