Pak-Afghan relations: Border clash mars peace overtures

Published: April 28, 2011

There were also unconfirmed reports from Pakistani officials that two Afghan soldiers were killed in the clash. PHOTO: FILE

ANGOOR ADDA: 

Despite signs of improvement in diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, border guards from the two countries on Wednesday traded fire in the South Waziristan tribal district.

At least 12 Afghan National Army (ANA) troops and one soldier from the Pakistani paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) were killed in the clash that took place in the Angoor Adda area of the district. Three FC troops and eight civilians were also wounded.

The border clash is ominous as it came at a time when Pakistan-US relations are at their lowest ebb and amid reports that Islamabad has asked Kabul to distance itself from the United States and seek new allies such as China – though the reports have subsequently been rejected by Pakistan.

Earlier this month Pakistan and Afghanistan had agreed to upgrade a joint commission to expedite the reconciliation process in an effort to restore stability to the region.

The ANA troops fired mortar shells in the Angoor Adda area without any provocation, a military statement said. One Pakistani soldier was killed and three were injured due to this “unprovoked firing” from across the border. South Waziristan borders the eastern Afghan province of Paktika.

ANA troops also targeted a market in Angoor Adda, destroying shops and causing civilian casualties, the statement said. Pakistani troops immediately responded with fire, it added. Pakistan has demanded an immediate flag meeting to discuss the incident.

South Waziristan Political Agent Attifur Rehman told newsmen that the Afghan troops fired around 70 mortar shells on a Pakistani border post and on the Angoor Adda bazaar. “Some missiles were also fired from across the border,” he added.

Local residents said that several small shops, selling fuel wood and coal, were destroyed in the shelling. An official told The Express Tribune that the clash broke out at 10.30 am and lasted more than two hours.

At least 12 ANA soldiers were killed and many others injured in the retaliatory fire from Pakistani troops, a source told The Express Tribune. Another source put the ANA death toll at eight.

The security commander of Paktika province Daulat Khan blamed the Pakistani troops for the incident. He told the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) news agency that Pakistani troops resorted to “unprovoked shelling” with heavy weapons in the Shagin area of Paktika on Wednesday.

Khan claimed that seven Afghan civilians were wounded as a result of the shelling. However, no ANA soldier was killed or injured in the incident. Khan said the ANA troops fired back and the fire exchange continued for several hours. He claimed that three Pakistani troops were killed in the retaliatory fire from the Afghan troops.

Meanwhile reports said that US-led coalition troops stationed in Afghanistan also fired at a mountainous border post in the same area. Coalition troops fired at the post with heavy weapons from the Shagin area of Paktika province. As a result two Pakistani soldiers were wounded.

According to sources, Pakistani border guards responded to the “unprovoked attack”. However, there were no reports of any casualties from the coalition side.

Last week, an Afghan militia had attacked a Pakistani border post in the Lower Dir district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and in the ensuing firefight 14 Pakistani security personnel and 40 militants were killed. Three FC troops were killed in September last year when coalition helicopter gunships had attacked a Pakistani border post in the Kurram tribal region.

Analysts say that coalition forces were encouraging Afghan militias to attacks Pakistani border posts.

“The newly-recruited ANA, comprising Tajik and Uzbek soldiers, has recently taken over security of border areas from coalition forces and they are responsible for these attacks,” Lt Gen (retd) Hamid Gul, a former chief of the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) told The Express Tribune.

“Regular flag meetings between Pakistan and Afghan troops are necessary to avoid such clashes in the future,” he said. “If we can hold flag meetings with the Indian army, why can’t we have such meetings with Afghan generals?”

With additional reporting by Sumera Khan in Islamabad

Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2011.


Reader Comments (29)

  • John
    Apr 27, 2011 - 2:08PM

    Beginning of Waziristan operation or just old scores being settled ?Recommend

  • iPakistan.
    Apr 27, 2011 - 2:14PM

    iSniff Indian Training to the Afghan National Army here! …as I read Pakistan considering to vote India as “most-favoured nation”!! :PRecommend

  • ashok sai
    Apr 27, 2011 - 2:18PM

    There are reports rounding about Gilani advised Karzai to abandon USA and align with China, now the firing across the border means endgame has started in Afghanistan. ANA takes on Pakistan Army means it does with the backing of NATO forces, it goes to show that USA will not abandon AfPak. May be beginning PakAf, keeping fingers crossed.Recommend

  • Aqeel Ahmed Khan Sherwani
    Apr 27, 2011 - 2:29PM

    very bad…!
    now we have cease fire on eastern border so irks started on western…!Recommend

  • Chilli
    Apr 27, 2011 - 2:54PM

    NATO and Afghans are making this border unsafe for Pakistan for the benefit of India. Well done Musharaf, your planted tree is bearning fruits.Recommend

  • Moise
    Apr 27, 2011 - 2:56PM

    American using Afghan mercenary to create a conflict. Keep kicking your economic system is nearing end soon.

    Patriotic Pakistanis please remove your savings from US $ to something more safer.Recommend

  • Amer
    Apr 27, 2011 - 2:58PM

    Why is the Afghan Army attacking us now? Haven’t they feed on us for long enough?Recommend

  • Najib Khan
    Apr 27, 2011 - 3:13PM

    @ John , nothing another step of the great game to push Pakistan into a more deeper turmoil , actually US wants to get out of Afghanistan but not from Pakistan coz they are greatly worried about our NUKES & want to eventually rid Pakistan of its Nuclear power & tech.

    this is the ultimate & eventual plan & objective of the Americans & their policy makers,

    Talibans , Al Qaeda, militancy , terrorism , war on terror these are same old ploys & excuses which CIA has had been using since ages.

    But Allah willing they ( Americans ) will loose & would retreat in the most snubbing manner. Recommend

  • chandran
    Apr 27, 2011 - 3:28PM

    it is a quiet suprise one?Recommend

  • Pragmatist
    Apr 27, 2011 - 5:26PM

    Indian training has been very effective. Indians now have their own “strategic assets”. Recommend

  • Amir
    Apr 27, 2011 - 6:37PM

    Dear All,

    The truth is 4 Afghan and 7 NATO soldiers have been killed as a result of retaliation by Pak Army.Recommend

  • ISI
    Apr 27, 2011 - 7:57PM

    hello every one the real death toll of american and afghan nation army iz 12 …. 7 nato and 5 afghan army soldiers…….Recommend

  • Amir
    Apr 28, 2011 - 4:14AM

    @Pragmatist:
    Indian training has been UNAFFECTED since you lost all your trained kids in the first attempt. 7 NATO 5 AfghanRecommend

  • Adnan
    Apr 28, 2011 - 8:32AM

    @Amir: PakNews.
    Add to that 17 Paki soldiers Killed, 25 Injured, Many Critically. Soure : DawnRecommend

  • Amir
    Apr 28, 2011 - 9:04AM

    @Adnan:
    Looks like you get angry from the real figures. 7 NATO 5 Afghans :)
    Dont worry I stay with my numbers.Recommend

  • chandran
    Apr 28, 2011 - 9:35AM

    10 years moved on afgan people attitude towards pak may have changed
    in due course. for your kind information to you pak people as far my
    knowledge is afganisthan is the only country which blocked the entry of pakisthan in UN and in the year of 1948. Pashtun people never accepted the creation of pakisthan Bachaa Khan is the best example for it. and many pakisthan people for that reason.Recommend

  • rgg
    Apr 28, 2011 - 9:45AM

    @Pragmatist:
    Yes. Thats fantastic! I am sure you would agree. Recommend

  • safi
    Apr 28, 2011 - 11:29AM

    @chandran
    and all who bleeding for pakistan, withen, on borders or out of the country for its cause are these pushtuns as they love their country ie pakistan, more than anything.Recommend

  • chandran
    Apr 28, 2011 - 1:07PM

    chandran@safi you can’t expect afgan pashtun will be loyal pakisthan government. There should be clear division between pakisthan pashtun of swat valley and pashtun of khandaharRecommend

  • chandran
    Apr 28, 2011 - 1:16PM

    chandran@ safi how can you can expect 160 million Indian muslims will be loyal to pakisthan government because they are muslims rather than to Indian government same rule has to be applied to pashtun population also. Afghan pashtun will be loyal to afghan government not to the pakisthan government.Recommend

  • WTF
    Apr 28, 2011 - 2:18PM

    Why doesn’t Pakistan just crush Afghanistan? Their poor, weak army is nothing for us. Pak Air Force can invade Kabul in one week and give the Afghans a fitting lessonRecommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Apr 28, 2011 - 6:15PM

    @WTF:
    What a wonderful suggestion but only hope that Kayani reads this but doesn’t takes it seriously. Recommend

  • Mateen
    Apr 28, 2011 - 7:50PM

    What else could you expect from India trained ANA.. Recommend

  • Maria
    Apr 30, 2011 - 9:16AM

    @chandran: You really don;t know about the numbers do you? Pakistani has more Pashtun than Afghanistan and Pakistani Pashtun are part of every fabric of society at every level, especially in the government and military. The Afghanis you have supporting you Indians are the Persian speaking Tajiks.Pakistan’s Pashtuns are the ones who have fought most valiantly against both the Afghani puppet army and the Indian army.Recommend

  • chandran
    Apr 30, 2011 - 12:48PM

    chandran@maria I totaly agree with u but there should be separate Identity between pakisthan pashtun and afgan pashtun but it sad to say your pakisthan pasthun leader baccha khan badly treated by the army dictators of pakisthan and he has shift his grave to Jalabad in afganisthan and like Bahdur shah al zafar died in Burma. He use to say I have ruled the land but alas I dont have any land to dig my grave.Recommend

  • Apr 30, 2011 - 10:52PM

    Pakistanis,i think u have forgoton that we defeated soviet army which was 100000 times more stronger than ur army.if pakistan army attack afghanistan we will crush ur pak army in just one weak.u r unable to liberate kashmir in 63 years.it means ur army is nothingRecommend

  • WTF
    May 1, 2011 - 8:42AM

    @Siddiq….”i think u have forgoton that we defeated soviet army which was 100000 times more stronger ”

    you might need to refresh your memory first and define what you mean by “we”Recommend

  • Someone
    May 1, 2011 - 8:44AM

    @Siddiq…keep dreaming lolRecommend

  • May 8, 2011 - 5:07PM

    If u can defeat soviet army,then why don,t u liberate kashmir.indian army is nothing compare to the ussr army.Recommend

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