ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan on Monday expressed grave concern about what it claimed the ‘Pakistani military’s unilateral construction and physical reinforcement activities’ along the border in the eastern Ningarhar province, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said.
A formal protest was also lodged amidst growing diplomatic tension between the two uneasy neighbours which also led to the cancellation of Afghan army officers' planned visit to Pakistan last week.
“Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Jawed Ludin, spoke with the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Afghanistan, Mohammad Sadiq this afternoon,” the Afghan Foreign Ministry said.
“Ludin told Ambassador Sadiq that these activities are against all accepted international norms, provocative and unacceptable to the Afghan government, and that the government of Pakistan must halt them immediately,” an Afghan Foreign Ministry statement said.
The Afghan Foreign Ministry quoted the Afghan border police reports as saying, “these unilateral activities began a while ago along the Durand Line near the villages of Hatam Kalai and Kodzarai in Goshta district”.
Ludin also expressed the Afghan government’s grave concern about alleged Pakistani rocket and artillery attacks in different areas of Kunar province over the past several days, and said the continuation of such attacks could negatively affect existing relations between the two countries.
“Ambassador Sadiq promised to convey all of the Afghan government’s concerns and demands to relevant authorities in Pakistan,” the Afghan Ministry said.
Afghanistan’s protest coincided with Pakistan Army Chief’s call on the top commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan to stop attacks into Pakistan from Afghanistan.
General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani urged General Joseph F Dunford, Commander International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), to ‘help Pakistan check cross-border attacks launched from inside Afghanistan.’
The heightened tension has raised serious concerns over the urgently needed peace process in the war-torn country to avoid any escalations before the 2014 pullout of NATO forces.
Afghan officials claimed that Pakistani forces fired nearly 50 rockets into eastern Afghan province of Kunar on March 25 and 26.
In return, the Afghan Foreign Ministry cancelled a planned trip to Pakistan by Afghan army officers for joint exercises. Pakistan described the decision as 'overreaction' to a local issue.
As the tension grew in recent days Aimal Faizi, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's spokesperson, accused Pakistan of "sabotaging efforts to end the Taliban's bloody 11- year insurgency."
Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Javed Ludin also claimed that some Afghan Taliban leaders who signified their intention to join in the peace process were either killed or arrested in Pakistan.
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry clarified that Pakistani troops merely returned small arms fire at the specific directions from where the militants fired at the Pakistani border posts.
Islamabad has insisted that Pakistani militants, who had fled military offensive in Swat valley in the northwestern tribal belt, have routinely launched attacks on Pakistani posts and villages from Afghan border areas.
The Pakistani military says that at least 100 Pakistani security personnel and civilians have been killed in 20 militant attacks from Afghan side of the border in the past year.
Last month, Afghan forces arrested a senior Pakistani Taliban leader Maulvi Faqir Mohammad in eastern Nangarhar province.
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