Clashes erupt on Pakistan-Afghan border, 8 killed

Afghan Border Forces opened unprovoked fire on Pakistani officials when they were conducting population census in a village near Pak-Afghan border in Chaman area of Balochistan on last Friday.

The cross-border Afghan fire killed at least 12 Pakistanis and wounded more than 40 others, including civilians and security forces, provoking Pakistan's retaliation, Anjum noted.

Officials from the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) on Sunday said they are anxious that once again border crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan will be closed to traders amid rising tension among border guards on both sides of the Durand Line.

The skirmish took place Friday at the Chaman border that divides Balochistan province and Afghanistan's Kandahar, as Pakistani officials were carrying out a census count. The border had been closed since mid-February due to an increase in terrorist operations in Pakistan.

Kashif Nabi, a local administrator in Pakistan's Baluchistan province said the surveyor teams, which included military officers, arrived in the border villages on Monday and were working "amicably". He accused Islamabad of using the census as a mask to hide the crossing of militants from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

Later Friday, the Pakistani military said a hotline had been established between the two sides and that the cross-border shooting had stopped.

He said the clash erupted after the Afghan forces prevented the Pakistanis from entering Afghanistan. Both sides agreed that the rightful determination of border limits would be ensured by the geological experts of both countries with the help of maps and Google Earth.

A senior official at the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said that during recent contacts Washington was urged to play its role to defuse Pakistan-Afghan tension. They accuse the Pakistani military and spy agencies of backing Taliban insurgents and destabilizing Afghanistan so that Islamabad can have an upper hand in geopolitics.

The Wesh-Chaman border crossing is a major border crossing between the two countries.

Last year, Pakistan started building a barrier at the main border crossing in the town of Torkham, near the Khyber Pass, angering Afghanistan which rejects the colonial-era Durand Line border drawn up in 1893.

Any attempt to make the border a permanent one has been fiercely opposed by Afghanistan.

"This was a shameful act to target civilians at the border villages of Pakistan", Riaz had said earlier when he visited Chaman.

  • Leroy Wright