ISLAMABAD: With security situation in Afghanistan deteriorating fast, military’s top brass on Thursday deliberated on controlling the long and porous border between Pakistan and its western neighbour.

“External security situation was comprehensively discussed with particular emphasis on situation in Afghanistan and border management issues on Pak-Afghanistan border,” ISPR said in a statement on the Corps Commanders Conference held at General Headquarters.

Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif presided over the meeting.

Also read: Pak-Afghan relations: Hanging by a thread

Nearly a fortnight ago Taliban gained a major psychological victory by capturing Kunduz. Afghan security forces quickly staged a comeback, but the battle for the city has continued since. Taliban have simultaneously expanded their offensive by launching attacks in Badakhshan, Takhar and Baghlan provinces.

The worsening situation has raised questions about Afghan­istan’s future. Some fear that Afghanistan could be going Iraq’s way where Daesh (the Arabic acronym for self-styled Islamic State) has controlled vast territory because of the weakness of Iraqi security forces.

It is worried that Pakistan may have to suffer the fall-out if the situation was to get out of control in Afghanistan.

“A host of measures are being planned to control cross-border movement,” a source said.

It isn’t, however, clear what specific measures are being contemplated by the generals for tightening border controls.

In past there had been attempts at installing bio-metric systems, fencing and digging trenches. Some of these measures were then opposed by Afghans and efforts were also made by some Afghan leaders to renew the controversy over the status of Durand Line.

The Army believed, something that was also reiterated during the Corps Commanders’ meeting, that border management was vital for consolidating the gains made by the counter-terrorism operation in North Waziristan.

“Practical steps are required to manage Pak-Afghan border for gainful conclusion of Operation Zarb-i-Azb,” Gen Sharif had earlier said at the CENTCOM Asia Security Conference on Sept 29.

The ISPR said internal security situation was also reviewed at the meeting. According to a source, “satisfaction was expressed” at internal security situation.

The commanders discussed next steps in counter-terrorism operations in the country.

The army has lately been focused on curbing terrorism financing.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2015

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