INTERNATIONAL

Pakistan to fence parts of border with Afghanistan



B. Muralidhar Reddy

Move to reinforce interdiction and elimination of terrorists

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan would fence parts of its 2,500-km border with Afghanistan to reinforce interdiction by its forces and seek to eliminate terrorist elements located in Afghan refugee camps and elsewhere among the refugee population.

Pakistan's U.N. Ambassador Munir Akram told the world body's Security Council in New York on Tuesday that his country has deployed 80,000 troops on its Afghan border and a matching effort was required on the other side if the "hammer and anvil strategy" was to work in the war on terrorism.

According to Pakistan's official news agency, Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), Mr. Akram said together with its intelligence sharing, Pakistan expected its partners to enhance its capabilities for interdiction and counter-terrorism through provision of electronic and other equipment, especially additional helicopters, to enhance mobility and reaction time.

Relations nose-dive

Pakistan-Afghanistan relations have nose-dived in recent weeks following charges by Kabul that several senior leaders of Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders sheltered in the tribal belt of Pakistan were engaged in efforts to undermine peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf described the charges levelled by the Hamid Karzai Government as "ridiculous" and said elements in Afghan Government were defaming Pakistan at the behest of foreign agencies. He urged Mr. Karzai to set his own house in order before pointing fingers at the neighbour.

In his presentation, Mr. Akram said Pakistan wants joint counter-terrorism operations with Afghanistan to be conducted with full adherence to the international law, including respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference.