Pakistan building ‘Berlin Wall’ along Afghanistan border

Pakistan building ‘Berlin Wall’ along Afghanistan border

Thousands of Pashtun tribal people who for decades ignored the invisible line that bisects their dusty villages and demarcates the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier are bracing for a Berlin Wall-style divide of their neighbourhoods.

Pakistan, worried by Islamist attacks, is building a fence to prevent militants criss-crossing the porous 2,500 km (1,500 mile) frontier along the disputed colonial-era Durand line drawn up by the British in 1893.

The fence, which Kabul opposes, will run down the middle of so-called “divided villages” where few people have passports and Pashtun tribal loyalty often trumps allegiance to the state.

Seven such villages are dotted around Chaman district, home to the bustling border-crossing town of Chaman in Pakistan`s southwestern province of Baluchistan. Other divided villages are believed to exist further north in the restive Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Pakistani officials in Baluchistan are now working on shifting Pakistani citizens in the divided villages to their side of the fence and say security worries override concerns that it will break up communities.

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