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AFGHAN civilians sleep along a road near the Torkham border in Nangarhar province on Thursday. Hundreds of Afghans attempting to enter Pakistan, some for medical treatment, have been waiting in the open since the border was closed on May 9.—AFP
AFGHAN civilians sleep along a road near the Torkham border in Nangarhar province on Thursday. Hundreds of Afghans attempting to enter Pakistan, some for medical treatment, have been waiting in the open since the border was closed on May 9.—AFP

LANDI KOTAL: Tension further heightened between Pakistan and Afghanistan on Thursday and the two countries deployed tanks and armoured personnel carriers along the tense Torkham border besides sending more troops after their negotiating teams failed to resolve the border fencing dispute, political adminis­tration sources told Dawn.

The two countries have locked horns over the issue of fencing of some points at the border.

Pakistan has started fencing some vulnerable points of the border with Afghanistan to plug illegal and secret border crossings and movements of people.

The sources said that Pakistan sent army troops and additional Khasadar Force and Frontier Corps personnel on the border on Thursday in retaliation to Afghanistan’s reinforcement of its troops and border security forces along the border.

Afghanistan has objected to the border fencing and officially protested to Pakistan over the issue.

Because of the tense situation, the border remained closed for the third consecutive day.

Informed sources told Dawn that negotiating teams of the two countries briefly met at the Pakistan side of the border at around midday amid expectations that the issue would be resolved.

These expectations, however, proved short-lived as the meeting ended without reaching any agreement, much to the disappointment of scores of travellers and traders who have been stranded on both sides of the border for a couple of days.

The Pakistani team consisted of Sector Commander Brig Qayyum Paracha, Khyber Rifles Commandant Col Tariq Hafeez and Assistant Political Agent Rahimullah Mehsud while the Afghan team was represented by Border Police Commander Zabeehullah and Lt Col Nisar Ahmad. 

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2016