Afghanistan and Pakistan say 22 die in border clashes

Clay Curtis
August 2, 2020

Cross-border artillery fire by Pakistan killed at least 15 civilians in Afghanistan on Thursday, Afghan officials said, prompting Kabul to put its ground and air forces on alert. Those people were then "deliberately targeted by Afghan forces for incomprehensible reasons", the ministry said.

Pakistan reiterates its honest readiness to further enhance fraternal relations with Afghanistan in the interest of peace and stability in the region.

The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is long and often details are contested.

The opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has "condemned" firing on protesters allegedly by security forces at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border at Chaman in Balochistan, resulting in the deaths of three people, and called for holding an investigation into the incident.

The spokesperson of the Foreign Office (FO) has clarified that Pakistani troops had responded to protect the local population and acted only in self-defence when Afghan forces opened unprovoked fire on innocent civilians gathered at the Chaman's Friendship Gate on July 30, ARY News reported on Friday.

The minister said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government would secure the borders and every persons entering or leaving the country would be monitored.

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Authorities had temporarily opened the border till Eid ul Azha last week for transit trade and allowed movement of people in and out of the country.

"When the checkposts were damaged, we were forced to retaliate", Faraz said, adding: "Shots were fired from across the border, which further worsened the situation".

Home Minister Zia Langove has blamed "miscreants" for creating what he said was a law-and-order situation in Chaman. At the same time, Hayatollah Hayat, the governor of Kandahar province of Afghanistan, said that many residential areas have come under the grip of Pakistani firing.

In this action, 15 Afghan civilians were killed and 80 people were injured.

Islamabad claimed that people had tried to cross the Chaman-Spin Boldak border forcibly after a protest against crossing restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Security forces had fired aerial shots to disperse the protesters. However, Frontier Corps (FC) personnel refused to open the gate until shifting of the protesters from the site.

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