Afghan forces occupying two border posts in Dir

Iftikhar Firdous July 15, 2010

PESHAWAR: Afghanistan’s border security forces have been occupying two Pakistani check-posts in the Binshahi area of Lower Dir district close to the restive Afghan province of Kunar for the last two years, a top Pakistani commander said on Wednesday.

“The check-posts had been vacated by Pakistani border guards on the appeal of local tribesmen,” Colonel Nadeem Mirza told The Express Tribune. “They considered these posts as interference in their privacy.”

Col Mirza said that Afghan authorities have been deliberately postponing flag meetings between border guards for the last two years. “If the issue is not resolved peacefully, it can undermine relations between the two countries,” he warned.

A senior Pakistani official told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity that NATO forces had provided Rs70,000 to Afghan forces to rebuild the two check posts. Only raw material has been supplied so far. “We will retaliate if the construction is started without consulting us,” he added.

Sources said that residents of Binshahi had been provided with jobs and huge sums of money and they did not bother to resolve the issue. A heavy contingent of security forces has been deployed in the area to keep an eye on the situation. The Foreign Office spokesperson was not available for comments.

Lower Dir has been attacked by Taliban militants several times. The recent attack on the headquarters of security forces in Taimargara has raised serious questions about the law and order situation in the district. Each day security forces carry out search and clearance operations in the region, with claims of arrests of suspected militants.

The authorities blame that militants are crossing over from Afghanistan to mount attacks in Pakistan. Militants are reportedly using Dir as a transit route to carry out attacks in Malakand division.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2010.


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