A barrage of 40 rockets was reportedly fired into eastern Afghanistan from Pakistan on Friday, an Afghan senior official claimed, as the top border police commander for the region offered his resignation over the government’s response to what he termed ‘weeks of attacks’.
General Aminullah Amarkhil, head of the border police in the eastern region, said he was not able to return fire and could not stand by ‘as people were killed by the shells’.
Pakistan last Monday rejected the Afghan allegations of large scale cross-border shelling, saying only that “a few accidental rounds” may have crossed the border when it pursued militants who had attacked its security forces.
The Afghan foreign ministry said in late June that four children were allegedly killed in eastern Kunar province by Pakistani artillery shells, while Afghan President Hamid Karzai claimed that Pakistan had fired 470 rockets over the border that month.
“I have submitted my resignation to the interior ministry because I can’t see my people being killed by shells fired from Pakistan,” Amarkhil told Reuters.
“I have promised my people here that the shelling would be stopped, but people are still dying because we have no order from the central government to respond,” he added.
Amarkhil’s spokesman said the resignation had not been accepted, but an interior ministry spokesman, Sediq Sediqqi, said the ministry had not received a resignation letter.
Gul Agha Sherzai, the governor of eastern Nangrahar province, said around another 40 rockets were fired across the Pakistan border and hit both residential and non-residential areas. Sherzai has sent a letter to the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad asking for an immediate halt to the attacks, and warned that the attacks could damage ties.
“Such attacks from the Pakistani side, and the absence of actions to prevent them, could hurt relations between the two neighbouring countries,” his spokesman said in a statement.
Fighting across the border overshadowed talks when the two countries met last week, along with the United States, to map out plans for talks with the Taliban.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2011.