Afghan, Pakistan border guards trade fire

Afghan interior ministry says forces traded artillery fire in Kunar province.


Afp August 15, 2012

KABUL:


Authorities in Afghanistan said that one of their border posts came under attack from Pakistan on Tuesday, prompting Afghans to return fire in a clash that lasted for more than two hours.


Afghanistan’s interior ministry said Afghan border police and Pakistani security forces traded artillery fire in eastern Kunar province’s Dangam district on the frontline between the two countries, but there were no casualties.

“One of our border posts came under fire this morning from across the border. Our border police returned fire and the clash lasted for more than two hours,” Najeeb Nikzad, an interior ministry spokesman, told AFP.

“No one has been hurt on our side and there are no reports of casualties on the other side either,” he added.

He said Pakistani forces fired about 50 rounds – 20 artillery and 27 mortar shells.

The incident, which reportedly caused no casualties, comes amid growing border tension between the neighbours, with Kabul alleging that Pakistani security forces have fired hundreds of rounds into Afghanistan in recent months.

Pakistani officials were not immediately available for comment but Islamabad has rejected similar allegations in recent past, saying Pakistani troops only respond to attacks from militants.

Afghanistan and Pakistan typically blame each other for violence by Taliban Islamic militants plaguing both sides of their border, known as the Durand Line.

Afghanistan’s parliament earlier this month dismissed the country’s defence and interior ministers over alleged security failures, including the shelling of Afghan soil from Pakistan.

Nato’s military force in Afghanistan last month condemned cross-border shelling from Pakistan, after Kabul warned that it could significantly harm relations between the strife-torn neighbours.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2012.

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