ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Monday the country’s western border was secure because of “timely measures” taken before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan earlier this month.
Pakistan started fencing its 2,611-kilometer-long border with Afghanistan in 2017 when militants launched several attacks on its country’s military posts. The fencing project is nearly complete, the military has said.
“COAS said that due to our timely steps for western zone border management, Alhamdolillah today despite challenges Pakistan’s borders are secure and we are prepared to meet any situation,” the military’s media wing said in a statement, quoting the army chief.
The army chief was briefing a group of lawmakers, comprising members of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, and the Defense Committees of the Senate and National Assembly, at the army’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.
This was the army’s first briefing to Pakistani legislators since the Taliban took over power on August 15. Pakistan’s civilian government has also arranged backdoor briefings for journalists on the regional security situation after the fall of Kabul.
Monday’s briefing came in response to requests by two major opposition parties — the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – that the government brief legislators and develop a national consensus on Afghanistan.
“The delegation was given a detailed briefing on the security environment, including situation on the borders and Pakistan Army’s efforts for peace and stability,” the army said, adding that lawmakers had an exhaustive and interactive session with the army chief.
In July, the Pakistani military’s top brass, including General Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director-General Lt. General Faiz Hameed, briefed the Parliamentary National Security Committee on Afghanistan as US-led foreign troops withdrew from the neighboring country after 20 years, putting an end to Washington’s longest overseas war.
Since returning to power, the Taliban have said they want to maintain “good relations” with the international community, form “an all-inclusive” future government, and will not allow Afghan territory to be used in attacks against any other country.
In the past two weeks, Islamabad has also pushed that the international community stay engaged in Afghanistan to help achieve a durable peace, security and development in Afghanistan.
Thousands of Afghans have been camped outside the Kabul airport since the Taliban took over the country, hoping to flee. There are reports of hundreds more trying to exit the war-torn country through its borders.
Pakistan has been leading efforts to evacuate people from Afghanistan and has airlifted hundreds of foreign diplomats, journalists and aid workers, though it has said it will not take any refugees. There are currently 1.4 registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan, according to UN figures.