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Pak forces pull back from zero-point area

Pak forces pull back from zero-point area

May 20, 2014 - 15:21

KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Pakistani forces have withdrawn from the Zero Point area along the Durand Lineinfo-icon in the Maroof district of southern Kandahar province to their permanent bases, de-escalating new tensions between the neighbouring countries, an official said on Tuesday.

Last week, Pakistani forces started constructing new military installations two kilometres inside the Zero Point area in Maroof district, with Afghan forces initially trying to resolve the matter through talks.

But when the talks broke down, a skirmish erupted between the two sides, leaving an Afghan border guard dead. Officials in Kandahar say the situation has returned to normal and Pakistani forces had withdrawn from the area.

Acting spokesman for the Kandahar governor, Dawa Khan Minapal, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Pakistani forces had not only stopped constructing bunkers, but had also returned to their previous position.

He said additional Afghan border forces sent to the area had been in a combat-ready position in their bunkers. In order to investigate the matter, a military delegation from Kabulinfo-icon has visited the district.

The issue also came under discussion at yesterday’s trilateral meeting involving military leaders from Afghanistaninfo-icon, Pakistaninfo-icon and NATOinfo-icon in Kabul.

Kandahar police spokesman Zia Durrani also said now they saw no problem in the Zero Point area. He said the number of border guards had been increased and they had been sent additional logistic supplies and equipment.

The Maroof district chief, Tooryalai, also confirmed the situation in the border area had turned to normal.

A few days ago, the Ministry of Interior issued a statement that said the Pakistani border forces wanted to dig two metres deep moats on their side of the border and continued to do so despite complaints by the Afghan forces, eventually leading to a skirmish between the two sides.

The statement called the Pakistani move a clear violation of a trilateral agreement among Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO.

The agreement says no country can construct military posts within four kilometres of the Zero Point area.

Security officials in Kandahar say militant attacks in border districts have dramatically increased. They allege the attackers come from the direction where Pakistani security posts are situated.

Maroof is 190 kilometres from Kandahar City, the provincial capital, and shares a 155-km border with Pakistan.

It also borders Atghar, Shamolzai, Shinkai, and Sewri districts in southern Zabul province.



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