In the wake of growing uncertainty in Afghanistan as a response to US troop withdrawals, on Saturday Pakistan government has made a statement that by the end of June, it is expected to finish fencing of 2600 kilometres its border with the war-torn country. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the Minister of the Interior declared this on the floor of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament. The ministry also added that 88 percent of the project has been finished so far, with the remaining work expected to be finished within 10 days. It was supposed to be finished by April 2021, but due to a delay, the government has now committed to finishing it by the end of this month. This Durand Line is one which Afghanistan does not recognise as a legitimate boundary with Pakistan.
Following the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the next two to three months are critical for Pakistan, according to Rashid. He also quoted that “Right now, infighting is going on at some 38 locations in Afghanistan.”
In 2017, the Pakistani military began fencing the imposed Durand Line, creating obstacles for people on both sides who had engaged in mutual social, ethical, and economic interests. Residents on both sides of the border responded harshly to Pakistan’s fence of the border. The Pakistani government has stated the line to be a legal boundary, although no Afghan authority has accepted to recognise Durand as a Pakistani border.
Officials stated that Pakistan is seeking to beef up security across its western border in the wake of US troop withdrawals, which are expected to cause a security vacuum in Afghanistan, aggravating an already fragile security condition and potentially affecting Pakistan. The US President Joe Biden said in April that all US soldiers would be evacuated from Afghanistan by September 11th, bringing an end to America’s longest and most expensive conflict which has cost trillions of dollars and claimed the lives of over 2,400 American soldiers.