Pakistan will open a security gate at the main border crossing with Afghanistan next week, officials said Thursday, in a move that could spark tension between the neighbours.
The gate at the Torkham border crossing is ready and will be inaugurated on Monday, the Defence Ministry said in the capital Islamabad.
“We will go ahead with the plan,” Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said, ignoring Kabul’s objection that Pakistan must not build permanent structures on the disputed border.
At least half a dozen soldiers from both sides died in skirmishes when Pakistani troops tried to install the gate last month.
Islamabad and Kabul have been in a longstanding dispute over the demarcation of their more than 2,000-kilometre border called the Durand Line, which was drawn by British rulers of the Indian sub-continent towards the end of 19th century.
Pakistani authorities have in recent years pushed to build a fence along the country’s porous and unregulated border with Afghanistan in a bid to control movements of Islamist militants linked with al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
Pakistan wants to build similar structures at eight recognized entry points with Afghanistan.
Thousands of people people used to cross at Torkham daily before Pakistan introduced tough new restrictions in early June.