Eight Pakistanis, one Afghan soldier killed in cross-border clash

QUETTA: Artillery shells and guns across the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan killed eight Pakistani civilians and an Afghan soldier on Sunday, officials on both sides of the border said, each accusing the other of initiating a trade. painting.
Pakistan’s military said Afghan border forces opened “unprovoked and indiscriminate heavy weapons including artillery/mortar mortars on civilians” at the Chaman border crossing, which connects Pakistan’s western Balochistan province with the western Kandahar province. southern Afghanistan.
The Pakistani military said in a statement Sunday that six civilians were killed and 17 wounded on the Pakistani side by Afghan fire, prompting the Pakistani military to retaliate.
Hospital official Wasim Baig said the death toll rose to eight on Monday when two injured people, including a 10-year-old boy, died at a hospital in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, where they were brought in for treatment.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the killings “deserves the strongest condemnation”.
“The Afghan interim government should ensure that such incidents are not repeated,” he said in a statement.
Haji Zahid, a spokesman for the Kandahar governor, said the fighting began after Pakistan protested against the construction of a new checkpoint by Afghan forces.
“They don’t want us to build these posts on our side of the border,” he said, adding that it led to a two-hour gunfight.
Police spokesman Kandahar Hafiz Saber said one Afghan soldier was killed and 10 people, including three civilians, wounded.
Afghanistan and Pakistan have had a territorial dispute on the border for decades, and the Chaman crossing was closed for several days following similar clashes last month.
Chaman is the second largest trade border point between the two countries after Torkham in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is an important source of customs revenue for the cash-strapped government in Afghanistan.
It was shut down by Pakistani authorities for weeks in October because of security threats and disputes over issues ranging from Covid-19 to the validity of Afghan travel documents.
Officials on both sides said the border was closed for several hours on Sunday before reopening.
“Such unfortunate incidents are not in keeping with the brotherly relationship between the two countries,” the Pakistani foreign office said, adding that the Afghan authorities had been informed that a recurrence must be avoided.
Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi wrote on Twitter on Monday that a repeat of the border clashes was “regrettable”.
The Afghan government, run by the Taliban, has called on the Pakistani side to take steps to prevent “provocative actions that cause violence and adversely affect relations between nations,” he said.


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