1,100km trench built alongside Pak-Afghan border in Balochistan

Published: June 20, 2016
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A file photo of Chaman border crossing. PHOTO: APP

A file photo of Chaman border crossing. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: After about three years of constant efforts, Pakistan has ultimately completed the construction of a massive trench in Balochistan alongside its porous border with Afghanistan to keep separatists, smugglers and militants from sneaking into the country.

“Excavation work on several-hundred-kilometre-long trench on Chaman-Kandhar border has been completed,” Deputy Commissioner Chaman Khuda-e-Dad Aga told The Express Tribune.

The strategic project of 1,100-kilometre-long trench with the cost of Rs14 billion was initiated along Pak-Afghan border in Balochistan by Frontier Corps in 2013.

The 11-foot-deep and 14-foot-wide ditch on the entire stretch of the border is contributing in efforts by the security forces to have a proper border management, an official of the provincial Home Department said.

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In the next phase, the project will be extended to the entire over 2,400-kilometre-long border and after its completion, travel between the two countries will only be allowed through officially-designated crossing points.

The FC, at the beginning of the project, had maintained that the trench would “not only help in effectively controlling the movement of drugs, arms and ammunition smugglers but will also help in stopping the intrusion of terrorists and illegal immigrants”.

“Proper management on all of our international borders is an essential need for a peaceful Pakistan,” Balochistan government’s spokesperson Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said. “In accordance with our laws, we are making our efforts to discipline cross-border travelling with Afghanistan and other countries.”

He went on to say, “No one has the right of objection if Pakistan is enforcing a proper management on its border regions.”

The spokesperson is of the view that the proper border management on the Pakistani borders is also in the interest of the neighbouring countries.

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“The border management will contribute to strengthen our system to check the intrusion of Indian-sponsored Baloch insurgents and Indian spies in Balochistan,” he added.

“It is an undeniable fact that a loose control on the porous borders in the past had allowed several hundred illegal immigrants to enter into Balochistan and now same elements are threatening the law and order situation in the province,” Kakar said.

Commenting on the construction of deep ditch last year, former ambassador to Afghanistan Rustam Shah Mohmand had said the project might have blessings of the United States.

In November 2012, a senior diplomat said that the US recognised the Durand Line as an international border. “If the government in Kabul has other interpretation, that’s certainly their business,” Richard E Hoagland, US deputy chief of mission in Pakistan, had said at a media discussion.

Pakistan for the first time announced in 2005 that it had plans to build a 2,400-kilometre fence along its border with Afghanistan to check armed militants and drug smugglers slipping between the two countries.

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Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf had subsequently offered to mine the border as well but the idea could not materialise till 2009 due to an objection by Afghanistan. The opposition by Kabul was based on an argument that the plan would undermine its stand on the Durand Line.

However, Pakistan along with US and Afghanistan jointly executed the project of fencing the 35-kliometre of border area when during 2010-11 the incursion by militants was on its peak.

The project was discontinued as both Washington and Kabul backed out of it due to unknown reasons.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Jun 20, 2016 - 5:57PM

    Then why do you find fault with US / Mexico border of some kind – wall or trench. its the same logic yes ?Recommend

  • Zeej
    Jun 20, 2016 - 7:09PM

    @Bunny Rabbit
    I have never heard anyone objecting US/Mexico border. Probably, you are misunderstanding the perspective of US/Mexico border argument.

    The problem is when Trump says that he will build the wall and will make Mexicans pay for it. He can build as many walls as he wants but expecting someone else to pay for it, that’s the issue.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Jun 20, 2016 - 10:19PM

    At last! At least Balochistan is doing something. All we need now is to cover the whole border and mine it. Law and order situation in Pakistan will improve significantly if it’s done.
    Send all Afghan refugees back too as soon as possible.Recommend

  • Javed Afridi
    Jun 20, 2016 - 10:35PM

    Mexico does not accuse US of infiltration/cross-border terrorism. Rather Trump is suggesting a wall due to economic reasons, Simple!Recommend

  • KANISHKA
    Jun 20, 2016 - 10:59PM

    Call it APET or Afghanistan- Pakistani Enmity Trench compared to CPEC. Next would be IPEF (Iran/India Pakistan Enmity Fence)Recommend

  • SS
    Jun 21, 2016 - 12:13AM

    Woah! 14 Billion Pakistani Rs wasted. Is the trench weather proof? With the passage of time, the cliff edge of the trench will change into a very walk-able slope. I think that many parts of the trench would now require re-digging to have the sudden drop rather than a slopping terrain. Good luck in up-keeping of the marvellously planned and hatched idea!Recommend

  • Nadeem Khan
    Jun 21, 2016 - 1:24AM

    GOOD WORK PAK ARMYRecommend

  • Jun 21, 2016 - 4:44PM

    Inadequate guards above the ditch will allow the Taliban to use sections of the crevasse as cover, just like the trenches dug by the militants themselves. Sufficient coverage of the entire trench will require thousands of troops, just as in Kashmir, or those promised to guard Chinese assets along the new China Pak Economic Corridor. All of these guards will be pulled away from other tasks, most of them related to opposing India. Instead of relying upon go-it-alone, primitive border measures, like ditches, Pakistan should stick it out and hammer-out an acceptable compromise with Afghanistan, allowing for fencing, permanent crossings, and electronic surveillance, under international monitoring.Recommend

  • waseem
    Sep 2, 2016 - 3:32PM

    @Bunny Rabbit:
    I do not find any problem with US Mexico wall. this is their bilateral issues.
    So, can we built the wall between us and Afghanistan, once you are satisfied?Recommend

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