February 15, 2018
Pakistan is building a wall along its border with Afghanistan and wants U.S. President Donald Trump to help pay for it
“It won’t cost them [the U.S.] much,” Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif told the Bloomberg news agency. “The war is costing them much more.” Only a fraction of the wall is completed because of money problems. But Asif said he still expects it to be finished by next year.
Asif described the 2,300-kilometer (1,400 miles) border between Pakistan and Afghanistan as a “free-for-all,” saying as many as 70,000 people cross every day, fueling terrorism, drug trafficking and militant activities.
“Any free movement from their side to our side, or our side to their side can breed mistrust and obviously some terrorist activity on our side or on their soil,” Asif told Bloomberg. “It’s in our mutual interest that the border is fenced.”
Asif also said the return of more than 2 million Afghan refugees from Pakistan is essential for peace and wants the U.S. to help with the repatriation.
The Pakistani government sees the refugee camps as a breeding ground for militants while Afghanistan accuses its neighbor of harboring terrorists and carrying out a “war of aggression.”
Aid cut off to Pakistan
Trump infuriated Pakistan last month when he cut off nearly $2 billion in aid, accusing Islamabad of not doing enough to combat terrorism.
Trump said Pakistan has played U.S. leaders for “fools,” taking more than $33 billion in aid over the past decade and giving back nothing but “lies and deceit.”
Pakistani politicians called Trump’s words insulting and humiliating.