Pakistan tightened its security at Afghan borders

Almost akin to the situation at its border with India, Pakistan has beefed up security arrangements at its frontier with Afghanistan with upgraded radar systems and increased reconnaissance flights by the air force, as well as additional troop deployment to avert any future intrusions on the pattern of the May 2 covert raid by US special forces that killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
Pakistan has a long and porous border with Afghanistan but unlike the country’s eastern border, where security arrangements are very tight because of decades of tense relations with India, no government has ever given that much attention to this frontier, also known as the western border, owing to low level of threat from the neighbouring Afghanistan. However, the intrusion of the US army to kill bin Laden earlier this year forced the country’s security circles to review the policy for security arrangements at the Pak-Afghan border.
The recent skirmishes between Pakistani border troops and the Afghanistan-based Taliban militants have also added to the sense of urgency to increase the level of anticipated threat at the western border too and bring the security arrangements up to the optimum level. “Pakistan started beefing up security arrangements on the western border soon after the Abbottabad incident and slowly and gradually the radar system was upgraded, which was blamed for not detecting the intruding US helicopters owing to the advanced technology used by the American forces,” said a diplomatic source here, seeking anonymity.
He said the ongoing row with the US showed that the Pakistani security apparatus’ concerns about the security of the country’s western borders were not misplaced and there was a genuine threat of future intrusions from Afghanistan, which were however successfully blocked by Pakistani security circles by not succumbing to American pressure and also making it clear that any breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty would be given a befitting response. “In addition to upgrading the radar systems, additional troops have also been deployed on the Afghan border and air force flights on reconnaissance missions have also been increased,” the source said.
He said Pakistan had mostly used its own resources to beef up the security arrangements at the western border but some friendly states could also have extended technical know-how to Islamabad for the purpose. A security official confirmed to Pakistan Today that Pakistan had enhanced security arrangements at the western border, but hastened to add that it was a logical thing to do in the wake of the May 2 US raid.
He said relations with the US were slowly improving and the nature of the row was not that serious as it was some days ago when senior US officials publicly accused Pakistani intelligence for supporting terrorists attacking US-led NATO troops and their installations in Afghanistan. However, he said the security on the western border would remain on alert as no chance could be taken in future.
“Pakistan and the US and also Afghanistan have been working as allies in the global anti-terrorism campaign and no one had anticipated the Abbottabad incident coming before it actually happened,” he added. “Now that it has happened, how can we ignore the security arrangements?”

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