Trying to bridge gap with ‘misguided Afghans’, says Pakistan

Islamabad, June 16 (IANS) Pakistan on Thursday said that Islamabad believes in dialogue to reduce tension with Kabul and efforts are afoot to bridge the communication gap with the “misguided Afghans”.

“Afghans are being misguided by those not interested to see peace in Afghanistan,” Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said at a weekly press briefing here in response to a question regarding the recent firing by Afghan forces at the Torkham border area.

Zakaria said Pakistan wanted to resolve issues through negotiations with the Afghan government.

“We have shared our concern and disappointment with the Afghan government and have also urged them to take necessary steps to avoid recurrence of such incidents in future,” he said.

The spokesman said the recent tension over Pakistan-Afghan border was against the spirit of friendship between Islamabad and Kabul, which share common religion and cultural values.

Updating about the current situation at Pakistan-Afghan border, Zakaria said both sides were in contact with each other.

“Small irritants, uneasiness and tension is a common thing among countries and can be resolved through dialogue,” he said.

He said Pakistan believed that effective border management could serve mutual interests, which was basically to address the concerns on both sides directly relating to terrorism.

He termed the border management essentially a part of Pakistan-Afghan counter-terrorism efforts and said Islamabad was determined to put in place measures to regulate cross-border movements with effective controls.

He mentioned that more gates would be constructed at the entry and crossing points along 2,400-km-long porous Pakistan-Afghan border and said the plan would be executed phase-wise.

Tension remained high at a Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing at Torkham as firing between forces claimed the lives of five Afghans, including three soldiers since Sunday, while a Pakistani Army major wounded in the clashes died on Wednesday.

The clashes erupted at Torkham, the main crossing point between the two sides, after Pakistani forces on Sunday attempted to construct a gate on “No Man’s Land” without informing the Afghan government, triggering a gun battle between the two sides.

–IANS

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