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Recent border incident detrimental for Pakistan-Afghanistan ties: Pak analyst

Islamabad, Senior Pakistani analyst believes that the recent border incident in which some Pakistani soldiers were killed on Pakistan-Afghanistan border would be detrimental for the bilateral ties which are already passing through a difficult phase.

In an interview with IRNA, Rahimullah Yusufzai said that Pakistan and Afghanistan should focus more on resolving the border disputes otherwise it would be impossible to improve the bilateral ties.

It is a very serious incident as Pakistani government was initially saying that the two soldiers have been killed, but now they say five are killed and their dead bodies have already been returned to Pakistan, he said.

The expert on Afghanistan affairs said: 'We don't know how many casualties took place on the Afghan side but there were several casualties on both sides, so this is something very serious and it could have consequences because the Afghan government is saying that they crossed over into Afghan territory and Pakistan is saying it's their territory.'

A similar incident had taken in Baluchistan Pakistan-Afghan border several months ago near Chaman, he recalled.

Expressing his views, Rahimullah Yusufzai said border dispute is actually going to become more frequent, Pakistan is trying to fence the border, but when they fence the border the Afghan government may allege that they are doing this on Afghan territory and the Afghan government is already against the fencing, so this is going to lead more tension on the border.

It is not something which will auger well for the Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. Relations are already very tense, very unfriendly and I think all the efforts which are being made to improve the relations will be affected, he pointed out.

The analyst said the recent agreement between the two countries was meant to deal with these kinds of situations according to which there will be more meetings and more contacts, border guards will remain in touch and there will be joint working groups, but before that could be implemented, this incident happened.

I think Pakistan and Afghanistan should focus more on the areas where the border is being contested, he said.

Rahimullah Yusufzai added that though Afghanistan does not accept the international border, but there are certain areas where they have dispute on actual boundary and that is creating problem.

Inter-Services Public Relations, Pakistan Army's media wing, said Pakistani troops were fired upon from Afghanistan while they were busy in 'routine surveillance along the Pak-Afghan border for plugging of gaps and making necessary preparations for starting fencing in that area'.

During the recent visit of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to Kabul, both sides agreed to take a series of steps, including better coordination between the two militaries, in order to avoid any misunderstanding.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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