KABUL: Afghanistan warned Pakistan on Sunday that any further cross-border shelling could significantly harm relations, just days after the leaders of the two strife-torn neighbours met to talk peace.
More than 300 heavy artillery shells and rockets were fired from Pakistan into Dangam district of eastern Kunar province on Friday and Saturday, killing at least four people, provincial spokesman Wasifullah Wasifi told AFP.
Last month, a barrage of cross-border fire from Pakistan into Kunar forced thousands of villagers to flee their homes, officials said, after Islamabad accused Kabul of giving safe haven to militants who infiltrated to kill 13 Pakistani soldiers.
Afghanistan and Pakistan typically blame each other for violence by Taliban Islamic militants plaguing both sides of their porous border. Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin on Sunday summoned Pakistan’s ambassador in Kabul to discuss the latest barrage of periodic shelling across the Durand Line, a foreign ministry statement said.
“Any continuation of such reported shelling against Afghan villages could have a significant negative impact on bilateral relations,” the statement quoted Ludin as telling Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq.
Both sides agreed to hold a senior-level meeting of military officials soon in Afghanistan’s eastern city of Jalalabad over the shelling and improve military coordination along the Durand Line, the statement said.
President Hamid Karzai’s office said the issue was raised in a meeting of the national security council on Sunday and security officials were instructed “to put into place all due actions necessary”, without elaborating.
Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, in response to a question at a joint news conference with Karzai on Thursday, said Pakistan was also attacked from Afghanistan and the issue had been raised in a meeting between the two leaders.
“Same like, from this side, from Kunar side, we get attacks on our armed forces, on our civilians.“So we have discussed all these things, and now we have to do our utmost to control such happenings,” Ashraf said.
Monitoring Desk adds: Pakistan military officials Sunday termed the Afghan claims false and propagandist.
Afghan authorities Sunday morning alleged that some 400 rockets were fired into Afghan territory by Pakistan security forces, reported a private news channel on Sunday. But Pakistani army officials said Afghan allegations were an attempt to divert attention from recurrent cross border attacks from the Afghan side. They said there were 15 attacks on Pakistan security forces and civilians by miscreants entering from Afghanistan in one year alone. Almost 100 Pakistani soldiers and civilians have died as a result of the attacks in one year, the official said, adding Pakistan security forces only take action in retaliation against aggression.