Residents of Kunar province in the east of the country say Pakistani forces have advanced towards the Afghan part of the Durand Line –which serves as a de facto border between the two countries–and in some districts have put up installations.
Most of these encroachments have occurred in the Khas Kunar and Sarkano districts of Kunar, which are located along the Durand Line. Almost 100 kilometers of the line is in Kunar.
The residents of the two districts said that in some areas the Pakistani forces have built fences along the line.
“They (Pakistani forces) entered on our soli and built their installations and fences under the pretext of building joint bases here for Afghan, US and Pakistani forces to chase enemies and conduct joint operations against them,” said Din Mohammad Safi, a member of Kunar’s provincial council.
Nawa village in Sarkano district is one of the areas, according to residents, where Pakistani forces have advanced towards the Afghan side of the Durand Line.
The residents showed TOLOnews ruined houses, saying they were destroyed in recent years by shelling from Pakistan.
The residents named at least 10 parts in Sarkano district where, according to them, Pakistani forces have built fences, leaving families stranded on the two sides of the line.
Abdul Wadood, a resident of Sarkano district, said he has many stories about the separation of families on the two sides of the line.
“My uncles are here. We used to meet each other before the fence was built, but after that we haven’t met since,” he said.
Documents show that a delegation from military and civilian institutions in a 2016 paper reported the advancement of Pakistani forces along the Durand Line.
According to the report, Pakistani forces built or prepared to build more than 20 installations in over 10 villages of Khas Kunar, Sarakano and Marawara districts of Kunar.
“This happened because the (Afghan) government neglected the area and left the people here and did not support them,” said Mohammad Gulab, a resident of Khas Kunar district. “The result was this as you see today… They (Pakistani forces) have also built roads and installations.”
But the Border Forces commander Mohammad Husain Ayubkhail said his troops have never allowed advancement of the Pakistani forces along the Durand Line.
“We will try to address the people’s concerns through diplomatic channels,” he said.
The issue has been a longstanding point of contention between the forces of Afghanistan and Pakistan and has led to shelling from Pakistan many times, something that the Pakistani government has denied.