Afghanistan’s foreign minister has warned the UN Security Council that its ties with Pakistan were being threatened by Pakistani shelling across the two countries’ border that has killed dozens of Afghan civilians.
“Failure to end such attacks risks jeopardising Afghanistan-Pakistan bilateral relations, with potential negative consequences for necessary bilateral cooperation for peace, security and economic development in our two countries and the wider region,” Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul said.
“We reiterate our call for an immediate and complete end to these acts, which have taken the lives of dozens of Afghans, mainly civilians, while leaving many more wounded,” he added.
Pakistan Ambassador to UN Abdullah Hussain Haroon said Pakistan had a robust security force along its border with Afghanistan and had recently enhanced its presence with checkpoints and regular patrolling.
“Our deployment far exceeds the number of international and Afghan forces deployed on the other side, which might also be the reason why so many attacks take place on the western side in Afghanistan,” Haroon said.
“We continue to be resolute despite the high human and economic cost of this endeavor.”
Pakistani papers banned
Meanwhile, Afghanistan banned all Pakistani newspapers from entering the country on Friday in an attempt to block the Taliban from influencing public opinion via the press.
According to the Associated Press, an order issued by the interior ministry focuses specifically on blocking entry of the papers at the Torkham border crossing, and directed border police to gather up Pakistani newspapers in Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan provinces.
The ministry said the newspapers were a medium for Taliban propaganda.“The newspapers are a propaganda resource of the Taliban spokesmen,” it added.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2012.