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Fresh clashes break out between Pakistani troops and Taliban fighters over fencing on Durand Line

The Durand Line that delineates the Pakistan-Afghanistan border has witnessed numerous clashes between Afghan fighters and Pakistani soldiers (Photo: ANI)

Fresh clashes have broken out between Pakistani troops and  Taliban fighters maid mounting tension over the fencing on the Durand Line, that delineates the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

According to media reports, the Pakistani army and Afghan Taliban are still exchanging fire across the Durand Line.

The latest incident took place on Tuesday in Sarkano and Naray districts, Kunar province of Afghanistan.

Various reports in the local media and videos tweeted by journalists show both the sides firing at each other.

According to a source, the clash started Tuesday afternoon over a check-point dispute in the area bordering Afghanistan's Kunar province,” says Roohan Ahmed, a Pakistani journalist in his Twitter post.

According to Afghan media, the Pakistan Army opened  fire against the Taliban troops in the Dangam district of Kunar. The Pakistan Army also used heavy artillery against the Taliban, leading to clashes between two sides. But the Pakistani army said that the Pakistani forces started firing at the hideouts of the Tehreek-e-Taliban across the Durand Line after five soldiers were killed by TTP snipers. https://twitter.com/bsarwary/status/1493635862139133955?s=20&t=DiBwSisMo8VLoLycfp_s0A

Refuting Pakistani allegations, the Taliban said that clashes started when the Pakistani security forces started fencing on the disputed Durand Line.

Earlier the defence minister of the Taliban regime Mullah Yaqoob had announced that his government had not allowed anyone to erect a fence on the border and to stop this, 34 new checkpost will be created along the Durand Line.

“So far we have not allowed Pakistan to fence the Durand Line. It was the previous government that allowed them to do so. Now we will not allow it. We don't recognise this line,” Yaqoob told the media. Last month, the Taliban fighters had torn down a section of the razor wire fence along the Durand line.

Also Read : Taliban tears down barbed fence on Durand Line amid growing friction with Pakistan

According to the Taliban, the making of this 2670-km long border, known as Durand Line, has been rooted in treachery and deception. That is why most Afghans have not been able to accept it. In fact, Durand Line is a reminder of how Afghans were cheated by the British and an artificial border was created whose legitimacy continues to remain questionable. The Durand Line passes through ten provinces of Afghanistan. In Pakistan, it passes through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Pakistan is stuck in a catch-22 situation with the Taliban over the fencing of the Pakistan-Afghan border. While the Taliban have vowed to stop further fencing of the border, Pakistan – which has already fenced more than 90 per cent of the border – has declared it will continue fencing the rest of the border.

The ongoing border standoff between the Taliban and Pakistani forces raises the question – Has Pakistan lost its leverage over the Taliban now? Pakistan hoped that the Taliban would address its security concerns and would not allow the TTP and the Baloch militants operating from bases in Afghanistan. They have also refused to hand over the TTP militants, as result of which Pakistani Generals are furious.

The Pakistani army generals are fearing that in the coming months the situation will worsen further as the Taliban has been refusing to address their concerns. 

Also Read : Pakistani Generals accuse Taliban govt of sheltering anti-Pakistan groups as 5 soldiers killed in attack,