September 20, 2017
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Dividing line
Pakistan-Afghanistan border conflict The violent clash between border forces of Afghanistan and Pakistan at Torkham crossing may appear to have ended, but it reflects a deep rooted disconnect between these two South Asian neighbors. Though the clashes in Torkham were triggered by the construction of a border post by Pakistan on its side, the border tensions are a symptom of a larger bilateral problem which if not tackled timely may have big and irreparable consequences. Tensions have been brewing for a while over Pakistan’s attempts to erect a gate on the border. Afghanistan has long opposed this idea as it does not recognise the gate as a legitimate dividing line. Pakistan’s moves towards fencing a 2km area at the Torkham crossing, was opposed and stopped by Afghanistan. The row led to Pakistan’s closure of the crossing, affecting thousands of people who commute across the border each day. Any construction near Torkham is a violation of bilateral agreements between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The build up to this conflict started when Pakistan stopped allowing movement of people without visas from crossing Torkham to the Pakistani side of the Durand Line, not recognised as the international border by Afghanistan. Pakistan shares a 2,500 kilometre-long borderline with Afghanistan. Over 15,000 people are said to illegally move across the Torkham crossing post located on the Durand line border, on a daily basis. Since the Decembe
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