Cross-border fire from Afghanistan injures two

Afghan border police intervened and exchanged fire. As a result, one Afghan border policeman was killed


Our Correspondents/reuters July 02, 2015
Afghan border police intervened and exchanged fire. As a result, one Afghan border policeman was killed. PHOTO: fILE

PESHAWAR/ ISLAMABAD: Gun and rocket fire from the Afghan side of the border injured at least two Pakistani security officials in the Angoor Adda area of South Waziristan Agency Wednesday morning.

“An RPG-7 rocket and a few rounds of small arms were fired on the Angoor Adda [border] gate from the Afghan side due to which two Pakistani security officials were injured,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement

It did not reveal whether it was Afghan forces or militants who fired upon Pakistani security personnel, saying only that “Pakistani troops responded by targeting the positions from where the fire was coming.”

Local officials, however, accused Afghan security forces of opening fire on Pakistani troops, allegedly after a border dispute. They also said that as many as six Pakistani soldiers were injured in the incident, adding that the casualties were moved to the Scouts Hospital in Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s interior ministry claimed one of their border policemen was killed in the clash. According to Sediq Seddiqi, the fighting started when Pakistan attempted to build an ‘illegal structure’ on the border.

“Afghan border police intervened and exchanged fire. As a result, one Afghan border policeman was killed,” he said.

According to Pakistani officials, the Angoor Adda gate was closed following the incident, halting traffic on either side of the border. This was confirmed by South Waziristan resident Sahib Noor, who told Reuters by telephone that no one was allowed to cross after the border was sealed on Wednesday.

The situation in the area remained tense by the time this report was filed.

The incident seems to a hint at renewed tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Ties between the two neighbours have improved considerably since President Ashraf Ghani came to power in Kabul. But Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), recently accused Pakistani intelligence agency of involvement in last week’s attack on the Afghan parliament.

Pakistan dismissed the allegations as baseless and termed them an attempt by certain elements to derail enhanced cooperation between Islamabad and Kabul.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a security official said that India was trying to sow ‘seeds of discord’ between Pakistan and Afghanistan following the improvement in their relationship. “Pakistan and Afghanistan need to deal with the issue maturely,” said the official, who insisted that New Delhi was playing the role of a ‘spoiler’.

According to some reports, President Ghani has written a letter to the Pakistani leadership calling for tough action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

Pakistan, on the other hand, has maintained it is cracking down on all militant groups without discrimination.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2015.

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