ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan summoned an Afghan diplomat over “unprovoked” artillery fire at their border, according to reports, as tensions have ratcheted up between the South Asian neighbors near the southern border.
This came days after increased tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan near the southern border of Chaman in Balochistan province, which inflicted injuries to both sides.
“Afghan Chargé d’Affaires in Islamabad was called to the foreign ministry and Pakistan’s strong condemnation was conveyed over recent incidents of unprovoked cross-border shelling resulting in a loss of life, injuries and damage to property,” the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Friday, as Aljazeera quoted.
“It was reiterated that protection of civilians remained the responsibility of both sides and that recurrence of these incidents must be prevented,” it said.
According to the reports, at least six people were killed and more than a dozen wounded on Sunday in what Pakistan said was unprovoked fire from Afghan forces near the southern border town of Chaman in Balochistan province.
On the Afghan side, a Taliban member was killed and 10 further people were wounded, where a second round of shelling wounded 16 Pakistani civilians on Thursday.
Sunday’s deadly clash is believed to have erupted over the construction of a border checkpoint by Pakistan, which has been trying to fence its porous border with Afghanistan, as Aljazeera wrote.
In Friday’s statement, Pakistan said it remained committed to “maintaining fraternal relations with Afghanistan” and described quiet borders as “intrinsic” to that objective.
Pakistani Minister of Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif told the National Assembly that Kabul had apologised for Sunday’s incident, local media reported, but violence erupted again four days later.
Thousands of people cross the border between Spin Boldak in Afghanistan and Chaman in Pakistan every day, including traders, Afghans seeking medical treatment in Pakistan and people visiting relatives.
The Chaman border crossing is one of the major international border crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Located on the Pak-Afghan border, it leads north from the town of Chaman, Chaman District, Balochistan into Wesh in Spin Boldak District, Kandahar province. More generally, it links the two provincial capitals: Quetta and Kandahar.
At least 10 thousand peoples cross this border on the daily basis having businesses in Wesh and return home in the evening.