News / Asia

Pakistan Closes Border to Boost Security for Afghan Vote

FILE - A Pakistani Army soldier with the 20th Lancers Armored Regiment stands atop the 8000-foot mountain during a patrol near his outpost, Kalpani Base, in Pakistan's Dir province on the Pakistan-Afghan border.
FILE - A Pakistani Army soldier with the 20th Lancers Armored Regiment stands atop the 8000-foot mountain during a patrol near his outpost, Kalpani Base, in Pakistan's Dir province on the Pakistan-Afghan border.
Ayaz Gul
Pakistan says it has closed all border crossings and deployed additional troops to help Afghanistan conduct Saturday’s presidential polls peacefully.
 
The Pakistani military said late Friday that all crossing points into Afghanistan will remain closed until conclusion of polling there on Saturday.
 
It added that border security arrangements have been stepped up in close coordination with Afghan security forces.

The military says patrols in Pakistani border areas have been increased, while immigration checks have been enhanced.
 
The army says that all routes leading toward the border with Afghanistan are being strictly monitored and aerial surveillance will be carried out to prevent "any untoward cross-border movement."

The increased security comes after Afghan allegations that the Pakistani spy agency is behind recent deadly attacks on election officials and facilities to disrupt the historic vote.  Pakistani officials rejected the allegations as unfounded.
 
Pakistan’s foreign policy and national security advisor, Sartaj Aziz, says in a VOA interview that peace in his country is linked to stability in Afghanistan.
 
“So, I think this perception that somehow Pakistan wants to disrupt the election may be a part of electioneering for some parties but I don’t think it is based on either facts or any clear-cut motives that we could have for such an action," said Aziz.
 
Aziz reiterated that Islamabad wants to maintain friendly ties with Kabul, and hopes Afghanistan will emerge stronger and more unified after the election.
 
“We will of course respect the wishes of the voters and deal with any government that they elect and we don’t have any favorites.  We don’t want to interfere in any way," he said.
 
The Taliban has vowed to use all possible force to disrupt the vote.  Aziz says he hopes that despite the threat, a record number of Afghans will vote to ensure a peaceful democratic transition.
 
Pakistan has a highly porous border with Afghanistan that stretches 2,500 kilometers.  Afghan and U.S. military commanders have long alleged the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan use sanctuaries in Pakistani border areas to stage attacks against local and coalition forces.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs