Afghanistan and Pakistan spar after fatal exchange of fire across border

Afghanistan and Pakistan spar after fatal exchange of fire across border

Political billboard at Torkham, on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border (Getty)

Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan | Jun 17, 2016, 02.56 PM (IST)

It is blame game between Afghanistan and Pakistan after seven people died during firings at the border crossing of Torkham. 

On Sunday, Pakistan constructed defence facilities in a disputed area nearby the border. An action that fuelled tensions between the two country`s security forces, resulting in an exchange of several rounds of fire. 

Three Afghan border guards, two Afghan civilians and two Pakistani troops lost their lives. 39 more men got injured from both sides. 

The two sides are now observing a temporary ceasefire, and are willing to end the crisis through negotiation. 
During separate press conferences, Government officials of the two countries have blamed each other for provocative activities that caused the clashes. 

"They are the ones who built facilities along the border, and opened fire first. There is no doubt that it is the Afghan people and its security forces' legal rights to defend themselves when they are under attack," said Shah Hussain Murtazawi, deputy spokesman for the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani . 

"Whatever activities are being undertaken over there, they are part of the border management. These are part of our counter-terrorism effort, essentially part of counter-terrorism effort," said Nafees Zakaria, Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman.

In an attempt to mitigate the climate Afghan deputy spokesman said his government was ready to open negotiations on the incident. "Afghanistan upholds the opinion that violence is not the way to settle the issue. We are seeking a negotiated settlement to this dispute. We hope the Pakistani counterpart can hold the same point of view," he said.  
(Reuters)
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