What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

New stance on the defensive fence - Hence it is a chance?

MStFB Update on the Pakistani-Afghan Border Fence
If one goes to MSNBC's Focus on Afghanistan site, in the video section there is a short clip with the title Waiting for the Taliban (dated: May 28, 2007). In that clip there is a chance to get a glimpse of the border fence erected by Pakistan along its border on Afghanistan's Kunar Province. (Some photos of the fence are also available on the web, but what I've found so far was of rather low quality, and so not really useful). Check the section of the vid between 1:30 and 1:40.
The fence certainly doesn't look impenetrable. It's not too high - between 1:37 and 1:39 you may see that it's of an average man's height. If immigrants would only have a fence like this to get across in places like the border of the Spanish exclave of Melilla in Northern Africa, they'd probably appreciate that.
Still, the report calls the fence useful. Between 1:13 and 1:20 you may even hear U.S. Captain Jim McKnight saying that Talibs' supply lines in the region have been distracted causing the insurgents logistical problems inhibiting them in maintaining their earlier tempo of operations. So has the fence contributed to that?
Seeing the fence one can only assume that a structure like that can only work as an effective barrier to movement if there is the intense patrolling of the border area to go with it, that I have written of in earlier posts. Well, U.S. soldiers are doing patrolling on their side, the Afghan side, of the fence. You can see that in the vid. It's not easy to judge of course exactly how intensely they are able to patrol the area once they have a lot of other tasks to take care of, from carrying out development projects to more usual military operations. But then probably UAVs and other reconnaissance assets are also assigned to monitoring the fence. And perhaps there is a system of sensors to pick up signal of somebody coming across - perhaps on the Afghan side.
So the U.S. may be making the Pakistani fence useful... While the Afghan government regards it as illegitimate and opposes its existence... Even while the Afghan government is demanding Pakistan to do more against cross-border infiltration by insurgents.
It's a complicated situation for sure.

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