Afghanistan ‘will do all it can’ to stop Pakistan border fence

AFP – Afghanistan will use all means to stop Pakistan erecting a fence on their border to stop the movement of Taliban militants, the foreign ministry said.

The ministry also denied Afghanistan had apologised for an incident last week in which its troops tore down part of the new fence being erected by Pakistani soldiers, sparking a gun battle which caused no casualties.

Pakistani foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said in Islamabad the incident was raised in a commission of the Afghan, Pakistan and NATO-led militaries and “there was an apology.”

This was rejected by her Afghan counterpart, Sultan Ahmad Baheen. The ministry had this week summoned the Pakistan ambassador in Kabul to lodge a protest about the fence, he told AFP.

“We will use all legal tools to stop this fence,” he said. “It is not a solution to crossborder attacks, it divides families living in the area.”

Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf, a key US ally, announced late last year plans to fence 35 kilometres (22 miles) of the 2,500-kilometre border to stop the movement of militants Kabul says are involved in attacks inside Afghanistan.

Kabul, which does not recognise the border drawn up by colonial Britain in 1893, has written to United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon to express “deep concern” over the issue.

But Pakistani officials have said they are determined to go ahead with the fencing. An earlier plan to mine the border to stop militants was dropped after widespread international criticism.

The issue is likely to be raised at a meeting in Turkey this weekend between Musharraf and Afghan President Hamid Karzai that is intended to clear up misunderstandings between the neighbours who accuse each other of not doing enough against the Taliban.

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