Thursday, March 30, 2023

Pak PM condemns ‘unprovoked’ firing by Afghan Taliban forces in border town of Chaman

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday condemned the “unprovoked” firing by Afghan Taliban forces in Chaman, a border region of restive Balochistan province, that killed seven people and said the interim government in Kabul should ensure that such incidents do not happen. Let there be no repetition of Future.

The Pakistani military’s media wing initially said six people were killed in Sunday’s shelling, but later raised the death toll to seven. Sixteen others were wounded, the army said, blaming the casualties on unprovoked and indiscriminate heavy weapons fire by Afghan forces on civilians.

The shooting in Chaman, the main border crossing for trade between the two countries, has escalated tensions between Islamabad and Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers after a series of fatalities and attacks.

Condemning the incident, Prime Minister Sharif tweeted that the interim government in Kabul should ensure that such incidents do not recur in future.

A senior Pakistan government official said that “it was unprovoked and indiscriminate shelling that continued for some time and included artillery shelling by the Afghan Border Forces”.

The Pakistan Army’s media wing termed the incident as unprovoked aggression and said that Pakistani troops gave a befitting but measured response and refrained from targeting civilians on the other side.

The Foreign Office condemned the incident and called upon its counterparts in Kabul to understand the seriousness of the situation and take stern action against those responsible for the unprovoked firing and shelling.

It added that such unfortunate incidents are not in consonance with the fraternal relations between the two countries.

The statement said that it has been conveyed to the Afghan authorities that recurrence of such incidents should be avoided and strictest possible action should be taken against those responsible.

The FO said that officials from both countries remained in touch to ensure that there was no escalation of the situation.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share a volatile 2,600 km long border.

Chaman remains a busy border trading area for Pakistan and Afghanistan and has also been a flashpoint for clashes between the border forces of the two sides.

The Chaman border crossing, also known as the Friendship Gate, connects Balochistan province to Kandahar in Afghanistan. It was called off last month after an armed Afghan crossed into the Pakistani side of the border and opened fire on security forces, killing one soldier and wounding two others.

Islamabad has completed nearly 90 per cent fencing along the border despite protests from Kabul, which opposed the century-old British-era border demarcation dividing families on both sides.

Successive regimes in Afghanistan, including US-backed governments in the past, have disputed the border and it has historically remained a contentious issue between the two neighbours. PTI Core PMS PMS PMS 12121431


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