Pakistan tells Afghanistan to stop recurrence of Chaman-like incidents

The Foreign Office summoned the Afghan charge d’affaires in Islamabad and said that recurrence of Chaman-like incidents must be repeated.

In a statement, the Foreign office said Pakistan’s strong condemnation over recent incidents of unprovoked cross-border shelling by Afghan Border Security Forces in the Chaman-Spin Boldak area – resulting in loss of life, injuries and damage to property – was conveyed.

“It was reiterated that the protection of civilians remained the responsibility of both sides and that the recurrence of these incidents must be prevented. It was agreed to use established institutional mechanisms in this regard,” read a press release.

“Pakistan remains committed to maintaining fraternal relations with Afghanistan. Peace along the Pak-Afghan border is intrinsic to this end,” the statement added.

Earlier on Thursday, clashes between security forces from Pakistan and Afghanistan along the Chaman border left at least one dead and 15 others injured.

In a statement, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said indiscriminate fire from inside Afghanistan on the civilian population of Chaman, which continued intermittently through the day, left many innocent civilians injured. “The injured include innocent women and children,” ISPR added.

However, Kabul appeared to blame Pakistan for the incident. The Taliban ministry of defence claimed in a tweet that Pakistani forces had opened fire first, and called for a resolution of the issue through negotiations.

It was the latest incident in which the Afghan side has targeted the civilian population in Pakistan and came just days after they had apologised for Sunday’s cross-border shelling that claimed the lives of eight citizens with injuries to at least 16 others.

Pakistani troops retaliated against the “unprovoked and indiscriminate” fire, the ISPR had said in a statement, without giving details of any losses on the other side.

The ISPR described the incident as “uncalled-for aggression” and said Pakistani troops had given a “befitting” but “measured response” and avoided targeting civilians on the other side.

It said Pakistani authorities had approached their counterparts in Kabul to highlight the “severity” of the situation, demanding strict action to prevent a repeat of such incidents.

At that time too, the Foreign Office condemned the shelling, saying “such unfortunate incidents are not in keeping with the brotherly ties between the two countries”.

“The Afghan authorities have been informed that recurrence of such incidents must be avoided and strictest possible action must be taken against those responsible,” it said in a statement. The FO said authorities in both countries remained in contact to ensure there was no escalation of the situation.

Officials said the exchange of fire took place between Pakistani and Afghan troops when some people from the other side tried to cut a fence near the border village of Lala Mohammad, which resulted in the closing of the Friendship Gate at the Chaman border crossing. However, after half an hour, the border was reopened for traffic and pedestrians.

A little later, Afghan forces started firing between Shoukat and Ilyas Pakistani border posts, prom­pting a response from Pakistani troops, officials said, adding that Afghan troops then started using artillery and mortar shells, targeting civilian settlements.

However, a spokesman for Kandahar’s governor, Ataullah Zaid, appeared to link the clashes with the construction of new checkpoints on the Afghan side of the border.

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