Afghan Taliban building unlawful structure in border dispute: FO

Pakistan has said that Afghanistan's move to construct a structure on its territory violated its sovereignty and led to the closure of the Torkham border — a main point of transit for travellers and goods between the two countries. 

In a statement on Monday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch responded to the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs remarks which included "irrelevant comments" about Pakistan's economy and foreign trade. 

“The statement of the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs comes as a surprise as the Interim Afghan authorities know fully well the reasons for the temporary closure of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border at Torkham," said the spokesperson. 

The FO said that Pakistan cannot accept the construction of any structures by the interim Afghan government inside its territory since these violate its sovereignty.

"On September 6, instead of a peaceful resolution, Afghan troops resorted to indiscriminate firing, targeting Pakistan military posts, damaging the infrastructure at the Torkham Border Terminal, and putting the lives of both Pakistani and Afghan civilians at risk, when they were stopped from erecting such unlawful structures," the statement added.

The statement further said: "Such unprovoked and indiscriminate firing on Pakistani border posts cannot be justified under any circumstances. The unprovoked firing by Afghan border security forces invariably emboldens the terrorist elements. These elements are enjoying sanctuaries inside Afghanistan as confirmed by the UN Security Council’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team in its latest report."

Speaking about the relationship with Afghanistan, Baloch said that Pakistan has always wished for a border of peace and amity between the two countries. 

"We have welcomed our Afghan brothers and sisters with open arms for decades. Pakistan has continued to exercise restraint and prioritise dialogue in the face of persistent unwarranted provocations by Afghan troops deployed along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border."

The Foreign Office further said that these temporary closures take place in extreme cases like September 6 — which left a Frontier Corps soldier injured.

"The statement of the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs also includes some irrelevant comments and unsolicited advice about Pakistan’s economy and foreign trade. For the last several decades, Pakistan has facilitated Afghan transit trade and will continue to do so. However, Pakistan cannot allow the misuse of the transit trade agreement," it added. 

"Pakistan stands ready to resolve all bilateral issues and concerns through constructive dialogue so that both countries can reap the dividends of economic connectivity and resultant prosperity. We expect the Afghan interim authorities to be mindful of Pakistan’s concerns, respect the territorial integrity of Pakistan and ensure that the Afghan territory is not used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against Pakistan," it added.

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