CHITRAL: Pakistani soldiers killed 30 Afghan militants who had crossed the border to attack the army, military officials said on Monday.
The raid on Sunday night by a group of more than 200 Afghans could further damage an already difficult relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan, who often accuse each other of failing to halt cross-border operations by militants.
One Pakistani soldier was killed and four were wounded in the latest frontier incident, which lasted close to an hour, officials said. There was no independent confirmation of the number of militants killed.
“The attack happened in the Barawal area of Upper Dir. Pakistani forces retaliated and the intruders slipped back,” said one of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Tension between the countries has been high since Afghan officials accused the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) of masterminding the September 20 assassination of Kabul’s chief peace negotiator with the Taliban. Pakistan strongly denied the allegations.
Pakistan has repeatedly blamed Afghanistan for giving safe haven to militants on its side of the border, leaving Pakistan vulnerable to counter-attack when it chases them out of its own tribal areas in the northwest.
Afghan provincial officials say Pakistan’s military fired hundreds of rockets between September 21 and September 25 in eastern Kunar and Nuristan provinces, which share a long border with the tribal areas inside Pakistan.
Although, the shelling did not cause major casualties, it followed more than a month of bombardments by Pakistan’s military in June and July that Afghanistan said killed at least 42 people.
A Pakistan military official said the army only engaged militants who crossed the border to stage attacks.
More in KP & FATAThe softer side: G-B’s hospitality admired by expat, wife