09 February, 2007

Afghan-Pak border news.

Pakistan now says that it will defer to European Union "sensibilities" and not mine the border with Afghanistan "for the time being", reports Reuters,India. What does that mean? For starters, the Daily Times indicates, there is a cost. Khurshid Kasuri, Pakistani foreign minister,

...mentioned Pakistan could use help in building the fence or in aerial monitoring of the border, but gave no other specifics. “We are looking for all sorts of help,” he said, adding that he had also asked for assistance in the repatriation of refugees in order to help shrink the border camps “in which all sorts of people find easy refuge”.
Sounds to me like Pakistan saying, if you want a fence instead of mines, you can build it, pay for it and monitor its operation; and while you are at it, you can clear the terrorists out of the camps. Given that both the local Pashtun population and the Taliban are likely to take exception to a border fence, any construction gangs might find life insurance hard to get and any monitoring teams might well be on something of a suicide mission.

The Pakistan Times has the wider context to the border story: the massive sums of money involved in potential trade deals between Pakistan and the EU.

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