Pakistani civilians killed on border with Afghanistan
Six Pakistani civilians were killed and at least 17 injured in an attack on a busy border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to Pakistan, Taliban regime forces attacked the Chaman border post unannounced with mortar shells and gunfire.
Pakistani soldiers returned fire, killing one Afghan soldier and wounding 10. The Pakistani military condemned the attack. Prime Minister Sharif also condemned the attack.
Footage from the border crossing shows injured people, burnt-out vehicle wrecks and damaged roads. The mortar shell explosion spread large balls of fire, eyewitnesses said, injuring people and setting cars on fire. The shelling from both sides reportedly lasted two hours.
The border post was closed after the attack, but was later reopened after delegates from both sides of the border met. This is one of the most important transitions between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Thousands of people cross the border every day and it is also an important border crossing for the transport of goods.
Afghan security forces told Reuters news agency that Pakistan had asked Afghan border troops to stop building a checkpoint on their side of the border. Afghan government sources told the AFP news agency that tensions increased when Afghan soldiers tried to pull down part of a border fence.
This fence has been a topic of discussion between the two countries for years. Pakistan has been building a barrier between the two countries since 2017. The current Taliban regime, but also previous Afghan governments, oppose it.
This is not the first incident this year. In November, a Pakistani customs officer was shot dead, after which the border was closed for eight days. As a result, thousands of people were stranded on both sides of the border.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said such incidents were incompatible with the “fraternal ties” between the two countries and Islamabad called on the Kabul regime to prevent them from happening again.
Two weeks ago, the Pakistani embassy in Kabul, the Afghan capital, came under fire from a nearby building. The ambassador, who had just entered the building, was not hit, but a bodyguard was injured. Islamabad spoke of an assassination attempt against its most important diplomat.
A member of the Islamic State has been arrested for this, the Taliban regime has announced. According to the regional IS group known as the Islamic State in Khorasan province, two men shot the “defected” ambassador. There was nothing in the statement explaining why.
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