ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) – Afghan Charge d’Affaires was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today (Monday) to convey Pakistan’s strong protest over unprovoked firing by the Afghan forces at Pakistani forces on Torkham border crossing.
“Two soldiers and nine civilians including women and children were injured in the incident,” the Foreign Office reported in a press release.
The Afghan Charge d’Affaires was told that the firing incident was contrary to the spirit of friendly relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Afghan side was urged to thoroughly investigate the incident and share the findings with Pakistani authorities. It was further emphasized that all steps should be taken for avoiding recurrence of such incidents in the future.
“The firing was aimed at disrupting the construction of a gate well inside Pakistani territory at the border. The gate is being constructed to facilitate the cross-border movement of people and vehicles. It was conveyed to the Afghan side that the regulation of movements at Torkham is part of government’s policy to strengthen border management. Therefore, Afghan government’s cooperation was needed as it would enhance mutual security and help combat the threat of terrorism,” the FO stated.
Earlier today, the Government of Pakistan expressed its deep concerns about the security of Pakistani soldiers near the border following unprovoked firing by Afghan security forces.
“We consider these unprovoked attacks unhelpful in Pak-Afghan relations and expect from the Afghan government to investigate this incident immediately,” the PM House spokesman said.
Pak Army said late Sunday that the Afghan forces fired at the Torkham border crossing, injuring a Pakistani soldier.
“At about 2120 hrs tonight Afghan Security forces resorted to unprovoked firing on Pakistani side at Torkham Gate. A Pakistani soldier was injured due to Afghan firing. Pakistani security forces responded to Afghan firing effectively,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) reported in a press release on Sunday.
After the incident, the political administration has imposed curfew in Torkham and Landi Kotal areas. People were also evacuated to from nearby villages.
It may be mentioned here that Torkham is the most frequented crossing point at Pak-Afgn Border and recently even most of the terrorists have been found using this gate for entry.
In order to check movement of terrorists through Torkham, Pakistan is constructing a gate on own side of the border as a necessity to check unwanted and illegal movement.
Spokesman for Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province Attaullah Khogyani confirmed the exchange of firing. He did not give more details.
Afghan media quoted a border official, Muhammad Ayub Hussain Khel, as claiming that both sides exchanged firing around 9 p.m.
The firing incident occurred days after Pakistani introduced a new mechanism along the border that requires every Afghan to carry travel documents for entering Pakistan.
Earlier, thousands Afghans living near the border would cross into Pakistan without passports and visas.
Pakistan has said the new system is put in place to curb the cross-border movement of the militants who would take advantage of the loose border monitoring system.