Officials accused Afghan soldiers on Monday of crossing into Pakistani territory and sparking clashes that killed two tribesmen and injured one other.
AFP quoted a senior official as saying that up to 60 Afghan soldiers entered Pakistani territory in what is the latest in a series of attacks inflaming tensions along the porous border.
Tribesmen Lahore Khan and Khwaja Din were shot dead while Gul Wazir was injured when Afghan troops opened fire on the men who were busy chopping down trees in the Inzarki area of Upper Kurram Agency, another official told The Express Tribune. He added that local tribesmen returned fire, forcing the troops to flee.
The firefight lasted for over 90 minutes after which Pakistani security forces were sent to the area, the senior official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Local residents said the Afghans were pursuing attackers fleeing Shehar-e-Nau village in Afghanistan’s Paktia province. Afghan defence officials, however, denied the alleged incursion.
“We are not aware of such an operation by the Afghan National Army (ANA) in that area,” Daulat Wazir, the spokesman for the Afghan defence ministry said.
Colonel Ahmad Jan, the spokesman for ANA’s corps 203 in southeastern Afghanistan said: “It is not true; our forces have not entered Pakistan. We have not had any operations near the border recently.”
The attacks have raised fresh concerns that Pakistani Taliban, who fled a 2009 army offensive, have regrouped and again pose a threat.
Meanwhile, officials said dozens of militants based in Afghanistan on Sunday attacked a check-post in Upper Dir for the second time in eight days.
Six militants were killed after crossing into Sabir Killey village in the Soni Darr area of Upper Dir, one official told AFP. “The firefight continued late into the night.”
Another official said there were reports that ‘hundreds of militants’ were gathering in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Kunar.
“Authorities have alerted local Lashkars (tribal militia) amid fears of a bigger clash,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity.
(AFP with additional input from our correspondent in Parachinar)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2012.
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