Islamabad, Sep 2 (EFE).- Pakistan said Thursday it has reinforced its 2,640-kilometer (1,640-mile) border with Afghanistan with the construction of new fortifications and the near completion of a fence.
The announcement from Islamabad comes amid a possible refugee crisis as tens of thousands of Afghans look to flee the country after the Taliban seized power mid-August.
Sajid Majeed, the Deputy Inspector General of the Frontier Corps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said the border with Afghanistan has been fully secured, according to Pakistan’s state-owned APP agency.
“We are ready for every challenge,” the official said, adding that 388 new border forts have been erected and another 55 were expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Majeed said 98 percent of the 827-kilometer fence planned along the 2,640-kilometer border with Afghanistan has been completed.
The fence, which will also have drones and cameras, has been installed mainly in areas difficult to access, such as cliffs and mountains.
Afghanistan does not recognize its border with Pakistan, known as the Durand Line, resulting out of an agreement between the British and the Afghans in the 19th century.
Pakistan used to allowed people on foot from Afghanistan to enter and exit the country without any restrictions or visa verification.
However, the situation has changed radically in recent years and even more so since the Taliban took power in Kabul on Aug.15.
Senior officials in Pakistan have repeatedly stressed that no Afghan refugee would be allowed to enter Pakistani soil, given that the country is already home to millions of Afghans that have sought shelter.
At the moment, Islamabad is only allowing the entry of Afghans with medical visas or those who work with international organizations and have been evacuated.
Around 1.4 million Afghan refugees are living in Pakistan legally, while around another million are undocumented.
Afghans are among the world’s largest and oldest displaced groups and began to seek refuge in Pakistani territory following the Soviet invasion in 1979.
Now faced with another large migratory crisis, Islamabad has refused to allow more refugees from the neighboring country. EFE