Several Afghan soldiers killed in border clashes with Pakistan
File photo. Photograph: (Zee News Network)
Several Afghan soldiers including a policeman and a local tribesman were killed in the ongoing clashes with Pakistan's paramilitary Frontier Corps near the disputed border Durand Line on Saturday.
A regional Afghan police chief said that the clashes broke out along the Zazi Maidan border district in the southeastern province of Khost adjacent to Kurram as Pakistan initiated firing to force people outside the claimed Pakistan border, reported by Anadolu Agency.
Pakistani officials told Reuters that two Pakistani soldiers were killed.
Abdul Hanan, the acting provincial police chief in Khost said that clashes broke out in three locations along the border in the early hours of April 15 after Pakistani paramilitary troops ignored repeated warnings from locals and Afghan border police officers and crossed the border.
Though security has improved in Pakistan’s remote areas bordering Afghanistan, sectarian militant attacks, primarily targeting Shi’ite Muslims, still occur.
“Pakistani troops are exercising maximum restraint so as to avoid any Afghan civilian casualties,” the Pakistan Army’s public relations department said, adding that five soldiers were wounded in the attack.
Afghan officials said that Pakistani troops crossed on to Afghan soil, prompting a response by border forces and the local tribal force.
“Two tribesmen were killed and the exchange of fire is ongoing,” said Mohmud Zazai, a senior army commander in the area.
Pakistan has blamed Pakistani Taliban militants it says are based on Afghan soil for attacks that have taken place in the region over the past two years, urging Kabul to eradicate “sanctuaries” for militants.
Afghanistan, in turn, accuses Islamabad of sheltering the leadership of the Afghan Taliban militants who are battling the Western-backed government in Kabul.
Pakistan and Afghanistan share a nearly 2,600-kilometer largely porous border. The Pakistani military has recently started constructing a robust fence on the border in its bid to prevent illegal crossings in either direction.