PESHAWAR: Three Pakistani soldiers were killed and over a dozen people, including security personnel and local tribesmen, sustained injuries in cross-border shelling between the Afghan and Pakistani security forces on Wednesday near the remote border village of Angoor Adda in South Waziristan.
Tribal sources from Angoor Adda, a border town close to Afghanistan’s Paktika province, said the clashes erupted after the Afghan National Army (ANA) fired an artillery shell and hit an observation post of the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) on the nearby hilltop.
Three FC men were reportedly killed on the spot and three others sustained serious injuries in the attack on their post.A Wana-based tribal journalist, Zafar Wazir, told The News by phone that the fighting lasted more than two hours between Pakistan and Afghan security forces.
He said emergency had been declared at the Agency Headquarters Hospital, Wana, to take care of the injured people. Some of the injured were airlifted in a military helicopter while others were brought in pickup trucks to Wana.
Tribal sources said the Pakistani troops retaliated and fired artillery shells at the ANA post but there was no information about the damage inflicted on Afghan forces. An Afghan commander Daulat Khan, however, told the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) that seven Afghan civilians were injured in shelling by the Pakistani troops.
Habibur Rahman, a Pakistani tribesman in Angoor Adda, told The News that the Afghan forces first fired artillery shell at the Pakistani post and it led to heavy fighting between the two sides across the border.
He said after retaliation by the Pakistani forces, the Afghan troops started heavy artillery shelling on the Pakistani side and targeted a market and nearby village.He said 13 Pakistani tribesmen were injured and over 50 shops destroyed in the ANA shelling.
Also, around 5,000 bags of coal, which the tribesmen had dumped in the market, were gutted when an artillery shell hit the business centre.Security officials also said that dozens of shops were destroyed in Angoor Adda bazaar in the ANA shelling.
An Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement confirmed the death of one Pakistani soldier in the shelling.The statement said three Pakistani soldiers and some civilians were injured in what it termed “unprovoked shelling of the Afghan National Army on Pakistani side of the border”.
Pakistan condemned the ANA attack on its side of the border and demanded an immediate flag meeting of the two countries. The Pak-Afghan border at Angoor Adda remained closed due to the shelling and fighting on Wednesday. Tribesmen in Angoor Adda said the situation was still tense.
Some news agencies reported the Nato forces also supported the ANA during the attack and that three ANA personnel were also killed in the clash.
Our correspondent adds from Miramshah: Nato helicopters intruded into Pakistan’s airspace and flew over the border villages in North Waziristan, tribal and official sources said. The sources said the Nato helicopters, taking part in an operation against Taliban in the Pak-Afghan border areas, flew over Lwara Mandi area in Dattakhel. The choppers returned to Afghanistan without undertaking any combat mission in the Pakistani territory, the sources said.