Kabul seeks US help in retaking border posts
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai has written a letter to his US counterpart Barack Obama, seeking America's help in retaking nearly a dozen border security posts that were captured by Pakistani forces in eastern Nangarhar province a decade ago, an official said on Sunday.
Citing reports compiled by Afghan officials who had been tasked with investigating Pakistan forces' advancement, Karzai wrote the issue was sensitive because US troops had been involved in paving the ground for the Pakistanis to capture the posts in Gushta, said Abdul Karim Khurram, the president's chief of staff.
He said the US troops had established the 11 posts to keep an eye on militants crossing the border into Afghanistan from Pakistan. He added Karzai had urged Obama to back Afghanistan's efforts in regaining control of the checkpoints.
It is believed US troops had helped Pakistanis occupy the posts instead of handing them over to Afghan border forces.
Under a strategic agreement between the allies, the US will help Afghanistan in case it is attacked from outside. Both countries are also in talks over signing a bilateral security agreement.
Earlier this month, there were reports that Pakistani military had erected a new security gate in Goshta district near the Durand Line. The reports sparked protests in Afghanistan and further deteriorated the already strained relations between the neighbours.
Deputy Foreign Minister Javed Lodin summoned the Pakistani ambassador to lodge a protest over the border gate, expressing grave concern over the unilateral construction of new military installations along the frontier.
Although the Ministry of Defence says Pakistani officials have promised to remove the gate, a Pajhwok reporter recently visited the site and saw a new gate being established 200 metres behind the old one.
To discuss the situation, a high-level Afghan delegation earlier this month visited Rawalpindi, where the Pakistani Army is headquartered. After the meeting, Pakistan said border issues with Afghanistan had been resolved.
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