Clash resumes on contested Afghan, Pakistan border area: Officials

Officials say fighting resumed after Pakistani troops attempted to repair a gate damaged in the previous clash.


Reuters May 06, 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

JALALABAD: A new bout of fighting erupted on Monday in a border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the latest indication of a sharp deterioration in relations between the important US allies.

Pakistan is seen as vital in bringing stability to Afghanistan as most Western forces prepare to withdraw by the end of next year.

The United States and other powers involved in Afghanistan have been trying to promote cooperation between the Asian neighbours, who have a history of mistrust.

Afghan officials said the clash on Monday erupted after Pakistani troops tried to repair a gate on the border, in the Afghan district of Goshta, where last week an Afghan border policeman was killed in an exchange of fire.

It is unclear if there were any casualties on Monday.

"This morning's clash began after the Pakistani side continued to repair the gate, which was damaged in the previous fighting," said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province.

Afghanistan says the gate at Pakistan's Gursal military post encroaches on its territory. The Nangarhar governor has spoken several times to Pakistani consular officials to tell them not to repair the gate, Abdulzai said.

Pakistani military spokespersons were not immediately available for comment.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have had testy relations since Pakistan was formed in 1947, at the end of British colonial rule over India. Afghanistan has never officially accepted the border between them.

Pakistan helped the Taliban take power in Afghanistan in the 1990s. Many Afghan leaders say Pakistan is still helping the militants, seeing them as a tool to counter the influence of its old rival, India, in Afghanistan.

Pakistan denies helping the Taliban and says it wants peace and stability in its western neighbour.

But in an indication of how bad ties have become, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, without naming Pakistan, last week called on the Taliban to fight Afghanistan's neighbour, where, he said, plots were made against Afghanistan.

Earlier last week, troops from the two sides exchanged fire for about five hours.

Karzai has ordered officials to take "immediate action" to remove the gate and other Pakistani military installations near the Durand Line, the 1893 British-mandated border.

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

COMMENTS (54)

Taha Durrani | 8 years ago | Reply

@Qatali: "I am sorry but you are choosing the wrong side and if you insist then you can pack up your stuff and move to a place where it belongs to pakistan"

I already am in Pakistan, I live in Peshawar, and Peshawar is Pakistan. The Durand Line is legal and no territory on our side of that border belongs to Afghanistan.

Ayatullah Yusufzai | 8 years ago | Reply

@Khan of Jandul: KPK was directly under the jurisdiction of the British crown, hence Pakistan was going to naturally inherit that province, referendum or no referendum. Still that referendum was held anyway only in order to assuage the sensitivities of Pakhtun nationalists, who then treacherously boycotted it, and so the voters that turned up voted in favor of joining Pakistan. All perfectly legal, democratic and, most of all, transparent.

Moreover, that referendum was held in July 1947, before the creation of Pakistan, so Our Great Leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah was in no position to dismiss anything yet. Everything there went according to the legal mechanisms set up by Britain and the Indian National Congress-dominated government of British India.

As for FATA, M. A. Jinnah reached separate agreements with them under which they willingly joined Pakistan as self-governing autonomous entities, and Dir, Swat and Chitral were princely states whose rulers willingly acceded to Pakistan over the years and decades following 1947. Also completely legal.

Today no Pakistani Pakhtun (apart from a handful who have personal vested interests) has ever regretted joining Pakistan, and certainly none of them has any interest in joining Afghanistan, no matter how much you tout pan-Pashtunist propaganda.

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