Afghans protest against Pak border control
Pelting stones at a Pakistan border post, over 6,000 tribesmen rallied to protest over stricter border controls introduced by Pakistan.india Updated: Jan 11, 2007 18:59 IST
Pelting stones at a Pakistan border post and chanting "Death on Pakistan," more than 6,000 mainly ethnic Pashtun tribesmen rallied Thursday to protest over stricter border controls introduced by Pakistan.
The protest was held in the Afghan border town of Waish, across from the Pakistani town of Chaman, near where Pakistan on Wednesday opened its first biometrics control system to screen travelers as a measure against cross-border movement by militants.
Chanting "death to Pakistan's links with the Taliban," the protesters gathered near the Bab-e-Dosti checkpoint, or the Friendship Gate, hurling stones at the structure and breaking windows. No one was injured in the riot, those who witnessed the rally said.
Pakistani authorities closed the border when the protest began. Afghan and Pakistani officials stepped up security at the checkpoint before the protest.
More than 400 Afghan armed security forces, including policemen, army troops and border guards had been deployed, Afghan security officials said.
In additions to the biometrics control, Pakistan has also announced plans to build barbed-wire fences and plant land mines at selected sections along the border. The measure was criticized by Afghan officials.
A Pashtun leader told the rally that the new Pakistani border control steps will divide people instead of stopping militants.
"If Pakistan really wants to stop terrorism, it should eliminate the bases for terrorists," Fida Mohammed Achakzai said at the rally.
Afghan officials have repeatedly said that Taliban militants are hiding in Pakistan to stage attacks against Afghanistan's US-backed government.
Pakistan denies the allegations. Under the new identification system, Pakistani authorities will issue biometrics compatible "border passes" to the residents of Chaman and the surrounding Qila Abdullah district to allow them to travel to Afghanistan after passing through the control.