June 20, 2016
ISLAMABAD—Pakistan in talks with Afghanistan has reiterated that “effective management” of their shared border is vital for efforts aimed at countering terrorism, promoting peace and strengthening bilateral relations.
A six-member Afghan delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai visited Islamabad Monday for talks with Pakistani counterparts.
The meeting took place following days of deadly clashes between the two countries provoked by Pakistan’s construction of a new gate at the busy Torkham crossing with Afghanistan.
The talks between the two delegations were held in a “cordial atmosphere marked by a mutual desire to amicably resolve border related issues,” said a Foreign Ministry statement issued after the Islamabad meeting.
“Both sides decided to work in the spirit of good neighborly relations and friendly cooperation between the two countries,” it said and added, the discussions will be furthered when senior Afghan and Pakistani officials meet again on the sidelines of a regional summit later this week.
“During the discussions, it was emphasized that there was a need for creating a suitable mechanism for consultation on border management issues,” said the announcement.
The exchange of fire between Afghan and Pakistani forces that erupted a week ago left four soldiers dead and wounded more than 40 others, including civilians, on both sides before the two sides declared a cease-fire on Thursday.
The border closure had stranded thousands of Afghans on both sides and halted truck convoys carrying essential commodities and goods to landlocked Afghanistan.
Kabul opposes fencing or building permanent structures along the 2,600-kilometer border with Pakistan because it does not recognize the demarcation called the Durand Line drawn by former British rulers of the Indian subcontinent.
The border dispute is at the heart of bilateral tensions. Pakistan this month for the first time in decades introduced a strict monitoring of thousands of Afghans who travel across the border every day, allowing entry and exit to only those with valid travel documents.