Pakistan Army rubbished Afghan claims on Thursday that its personnel had clashes with Afghan troops, insisting that it was the Afghan National Army troops that resorted to unprovoked firing on a Pakistani post near Qilla Saifullah in Balochistan province.
Afghan officials had earlier claimed that its border police officer was killed after clashes broke out between Pakistani and Afghan troops along the border in the southern Kandahar province.
A statement posted on the Afghan interior minister’s website said that no country was to build any checkpoint or bunker within four kilometres of the border under a tripartite agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nato.
“Pakistani forces have violated the agreement and dug bunkers and built posts two kilometres near the Zero Point along the Durand Line,” the statement said.
Pakistan Army rejected the claim saying that no new construction is being carried out by Pakistani troops inside the Afghan territory.
The Afghan interior ministry said that the border police had requested the Pakistani forces to stop the construction and to retreat to their previous positions. “However the Pakistani forces refused,” it claimed.
The Kandahar police chief spokesman, Ahmad Zia Durani, said the clashes broke out after Afghan border police forces “stopped the Pakistani troops to build check posts inside the Afghan soil.”
“Pakistani troops responded effectively to firing by Afghan troops. No loss has been reported so far,” a Pakistani official said in a statement.
The Afghan interior ministry had accused Pakistani forces of starting the construction of bunkers and check posts inside the Afghan territory in Maroof district of Kandahar.
Afghan media reported that the Pakistani forces have attacked a number of the Afghan check posts which sparked clashes between the two sides. After the clashes the Afghan provincial authorities also sought help from the central government. Afghan private television channels reported that more Afghan troops were being deployed as the fighting between Pakistani and Afghan forces continues.
Pakistan and Afghanistan share nearly 2,500 kilometres of border and both routinely accuse each other of cross-border attacks. Pakistan says that senior leaders of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have regrouped fighters in Afghanistan border region and frequently launch attacks on Pakistani border posts.
Officials also say that the TTP chief Maulvi Fazalullah leads his Taliban men in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province. Last year, Afghan officials arrested the TTP deputy chief Maulvi Faqir in Nangarhar province.
In February Pakistan said that the TTP executed 23 Frontier Corps soldiers inside Afghanistan. The FC men had been kidnapped from a check post in Mohmand Agency in 2010 and were believed to have been taken to other side of the border. Pakistan had lodged a formal protest over the incident. Kabul also claims that senior Afghan Taliban leaders are also hiding in and operating from Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2014.
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