Afghanistan, Pakistan agree on ceasefire along Torkham border: Abdullah Abdullah

Published: June 13, 2016
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An Afghan border policeman takes position after overnight clashes with Pakistani forces on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan in eastern Nangarhar province on June 13, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

An Afghan border policeman takes position after overnight clashes with Pakistani forces on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan in eastern Nangarhar province on June 13, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Afghan Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah on Monday said Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to observe a ceasefire along the Torkham border and solve the dispute through diplomatic means.

“We have agreed on a ceasefire with Pakistan and hope this problem will be resolved through diplomatic efforts,” Tolo TV quoted Dr Abdullah as telling Afghan council of ministers.

He confirmed that one border soldier was killed and six others wounded in clashes against Pakistan last night, adding that Pakistan also incurred casualties.

“Pakistan wanted to build new installations and Afghan Border Forces didn’t allow it. In response, Pakistan opened fire on Afghan Forces,” Abdullah said.

Firing at Torkham border left nine Pakistani civilians injured

The Afghan chief executive said Kabul had taken up the matter through diplomatic channels but “Pakistan didn’t act upon the mutual agreement reached between both countries.”

Pakistan and Afghan forces exchanged fire late Sunday over construction on the Pakistani side of the border.

Officials in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province have confirmed that a border police official was killed and six others injured during the two-hour long skirmishes with Pakistani security forces late Monday. According to Pakistan Army, one soldier was injured when Afghan forces fired shells at the border posts.

Local officials in Khyber Agency said several civilians were among those injured who were admitted to Landikotal hospital.

A Pakistan Army statement said late Sunday that the Afghan forces started firing after Pakistan started construction of a gate on its own side of the border as a “necessity to check unwanted and illegal movement of terrorists through Torkham.”

Torkham comes under heavy Afghan shelling

“Pakistani security forces responded to the Afghan firing effectively,” the statement from the Inter-Service Public Relations said.

Torkham is the most frequently used crossing point at Pak-Afghan; most of the terrorists have been found using this gate for entry, the statement said.

The firing incident occurred days after Pakistan introduced a new mechanism along the border that requires every Afghan to carry travel documents for entering Pakistan.

Border management system starts functioning at Torkham

Prior to this thousands of Afghans living near the border would cross into Pakistan without passports and visas.

Pakistan says the new system was put in place to curb unregulated and illegal cross-border movement of the militants who would take advantage of the loose border monitoring system.

Pakistani soldiers opened fire on our forces, claims Afghan foreign ministry

Meanwhile, Afghan Foreign Ministry has claimed that Pakistani border soldiers opened fire on Afghan security and defence forces which triggered a cross-fire from the Afghan side.

It, however, said Kabul wants to solve border issues with Islamabad through diplomatic channels.

“In line with the International Standards, discussions on establishment of installations in Torkham were underway between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a series of accords had been reached in this regard,” a statement said.

“However, yesterday evening the Pakistani side, unlike the mentioned accords, embarked to establish installations in Torkham, and Pakistani border soldiers opened fire on Afghan security and defence forces,” it added.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan considers this tension as unpleasant. Afghanistan adheres to its pervious accords with Pakistan and emphasises peaceful methods and expects from Pakistani side to tackle this problem through diplomatic channels,” it said.

Pakistan lodges protest with Afghanistan

Pakistan on Monday lodged a strong protest with Afghanistan over unprovoked firing by the Afghan forces on Torkham border.

“Today, Afghan Charge d’Affaires was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey Pakistan’s strong protest over unprovoked firing by the Afghan forces at Pakistani forces on Torkham border crossing,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Afghan Charge d’Affaires was told that the firing incident was contrary to the spirit of friendly relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” it added.

The statement further revealed that the Afghan side was urged to thoroughly investigate the incident and share the findings with Pakistan. “It was further emphasized that all steps should be taken for avoiding recurrence of such incidents in the future.”

“The firing was aimed at disrupting the construction of a gate well inside Pakistani territory at the border. The gate is being constructed to facilitate the cross-border movement of people and vehicles,” it said.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Anonymous
    Jun 13, 2016 - 3:40PM

    Who are they ?
    This is our border and we will do what ever we seem fit to secure our country.Recommend

  • Brainy Bhaijan
    Jun 13, 2016 - 3:45PM

    Afghanistan needs to seal its border. That would solve the problem of strategic assets.Recommend

  • stevenson
    Jun 13, 2016 - 6:31PM

    @Brainy Bhaijan: I think most Pakistanis also want the border sealed so agents like Yadav don’t come in from Afghanistan. Remember APS tragedy was orchestrated from Afghanistan too. Let Afghans travel to India via Iran now so Iran and India should open border to Afghan refugees en route to Europe.Recommend

  • Ahmad Durrani
    Jun 13, 2016 - 6:41PM

    Pakistan is trying to build custom posts on its side of the border and Afghans opened fire. First Afghans claim that militant cross the border from Pakistan and when we try to build posts to control the illegal border crossings they open fire. Pakistan has the right to build border post or even a wall on its side of the border.Recommend

  • NDA
    Jun 13, 2016 - 10:55PM

    This is Indian inspired . India will be happy to see two Muslim countries clashing over a non-issue. It will push Afghanistan to the point of no-return. Hope wisdom will prevail and Afghans will not fall prey to the Indian chicanery. Recommend

  • johnpauljones
    Jun 14, 2016 - 12:30AM

    Time to sort out the Afghans for good. Recommend

  • fakhar
    Jun 14, 2016 - 1:51AM

    Every one do know that both the sides have muslims but no one know who push them to clash america india or some benifit searching people inside them.Recommend

  • sid
    Jun 14, 2016 - 2:23AM

    The sole purpose of a border is to control and regulate movement. I don’t see why any BORDER force will have a problem with this.Recommend

  • Malakand
    Jun 14, 2016 - 3:19AM

    We need to build bridges NOT walls, Why central government wants to build walls between two brothers?Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Jun 14, 2016 - 3:22AM

    We need to cool temperatures btw the two countries. It is Pakistans right to manage it’s borders in whatever way we feel it’s imp. But best way is to hear Afghanistan concerns ad address legitimate issues.

    No need to panic, we are a 100X strong army and country, need to show that through mature behaviour. No need to act like PTI group. Recommend

  • David
    Jun 14, 2016 - 11:48AM

    @Malakand: Dear Malakand, brothers become worst enemies if one of them try to usurp the other property. Afghanistan’s claim to our territory is unjustified and must be resisted. If a Pakistani citizens cannot enter Afghanistan without verified documents from the Afghan consulate in Peshawar, Afghani citizens should be treated accordingly. Recommend

  • zesh
    Jun 15, 2016 - 10:02AM

    The actual problem is Indians and Americans and their allies….we both side don’t have the guts to say openly on government level and take serious actions to kick them out.this region will be in peace not just this the whole world..
    We should break their legs when they start to interfere in our personal matters…unless these incidents wil
    l never stopRecommend

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