Afghanistan claims border policeman killed in exchange of fire with Pakistan

Relations between the South Asian neighbours marked by decades of distrust and outbreaks of fighting.

Reuters May 02, 2013
Afghan border policemen take their positions at the Goshta district of Nangarhar province border, where Afghanistan shares borders with Pakistan, May 2, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

An Afghan border policeman was allegedly killed and two Pakistani soldiers were wounded in an exchange of fire along the border late on Wednesday. A Pakistani security official said two Pakistani soldiers were injured when they reacted to the sudden firing started by the Afghan forces at Pakistani posts in Mohmand agency. A senior Afghan official claimed that hundreds of additional Afghan troops had been  sent to the disputed Gursal border gate after the exchange of fire, which lasted for more than two hours.

The stakes are high. The United States wants Pakistan to help Afghanistan to coax the Taliban to the negotiating table ahead of the withdrawal of most NATO combat troops by the end of 2014.

But relations between the South Asian neighbours have been marked by decades of distrust and outbreaks of fighting.

Last September, Afghanistan sent extra troops and artillery to the border with Pakistan as tensions rose over a spate of cross-border shelling that allegedly killed dozens of Afghan civilians.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he hoped the clash would not escalate.

"That being said, the Afghan government will do its utmost to protect the Durand Line, and to make sure that no foreign military installations or checkpoints ... hold at the Afghan side of the Durand Line," he told reporters in Copenhagen on Thursday during a visit to Denmark.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry released a statement saying it had summoned the senior Afghan diplomat in Islamabad to protest at what it called "an unprovoked firing incident".

A Pakistani military source said the shooting had been sparked by an attack on a Pakistani checkpoint. The senior Afghan official claimed trouble had started after Pakistani troops attempted to fortify the border gate.

Two Afghan border policemen were allegedly wounded.

Frustration over peace process

The Afghan government has grown increasingly frustrated with Pakistan, suggesting it is intent on keeping Afghanistan unstable rather than helping to engage the Taliban in peace talks.

Afghan officials say Pakistan has a long history of supporting Afghanistan's Taliban and other insurgent factions. Pakistan has in turn accused Afghanistan of giving safe haven to Pakistani militants on the Afghan side of the border.

The latest tensions are focused on Pakistan's building of a military gate, which Afghan officials say lies inside Afghanistan.

Karzai has ordered his top officials to take immediate action to remove the gate and other Pakistani military installations near the Durand Line, the 1893 British-mandated border. It is recognized by Pakistan, but not by Afghanistan.

Afghanistan maintains that activity by either side along the Durand Line must be approved by both countries.

Also on Thursday, seven Afghan local police were killed when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle in the troubled eastern province of Logar.

In Copenhagen, Karzai said he had applied to have Afghan prisoners being held in US custody at Guantanamo Bay removed from a UN sanctions list, and wanted them sent back to Afghanistan.

In 1999 the United Nations voted to place sanctions on al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban at a time when they were cooperating closely. More than 120 people associated with the Taliban remain subject to asset freezes and travel bans due to alleged terrorist activity, among them some who are being held without trial at the US Naval base in Cuba.


Vectra | 8 years ago | Reply Pakistan's worst nightmare getting squeezed by Afghanistan by the way pakistan cant do much to Afghanistan.
irfan | 8 years ago | Reply

@Mustafa Muhammad: its just an afghan perception that pakistan has been recieving aid for these refugees...NGOs working in pakistan receive the dollars not the pak governement !!! and i still remember that in the early 1980s most of the common pakistanis gave shelter to homeless afghanis in their homes but afghanis just wont accept this...secondly we didnt invite them to come here and live here?

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