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Monday May 20, 2024

Pakistan summons Afghanistan's envoy, 'strongly condemns' cross border shelling

This was the second incident of cross-border shelling by Afghan forces within five days

By Web Desk
December 16, 2022
Pakistans Foreign Office. — Radio Pakistan
Pakistan's Foreign Office. — Radio Pakistan

Pakistan on Friday summoned Afghanistan's chargé d'affaires in Islamabad and "strongly condemned" the recent unprovoked cross-border shelling by its forces.

"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," a statement issued by Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch read.

Islamabad told the Afghan envoy that civilians' protection is both countries' primary responsibility, adding that the recurrence of such incidents must be prevented.

The spokesperson said: "It was agreed to use established institutional mechanisms in this regard. Pakistan remains committed to maintaining fraternal relations with Afghanistan. Peace along the Pak-Afghan border is intrinsic to this end."

Chaman border normalises

The Pakistan-Afghanistan border at Chaman resumed routine operations amid a high-security alert, security officials told Friday, adding that a ceasefire is in place with the border crossing open at the Friendship Gate.

The border was reopened after Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that the neighbouring country apologised for the incident.

This was the second time within a week that the Afghan border forces opened unprovoked and indiscriminate fire, using heavy weapons, at the civilian area in Balochistan's Chaman city.

On Thursday, one person was killed and 15 people were injured when Afghan border forces opened unprovoked fire on a civilian area on the Pakistani side. Pakistan's security forces responded befittingly afterwards, Levies and hospital officials told.

The local administration evacuated the area amid the clash and also declared an emergency in DHQ Chaman.

Levies officials reported that the Afghan side fired multiple artillery rounds upon the civilian population around the Boghra Road and Custom House areas. The Pakistani forces have given a befitting response to Afghan shelling, they added.

Authorities had said that the clashes broke out over Afghan forces' intervention during the repair of the fence in the Sheikh Lal Muhammad sector of the border.

This incident was the second time in five days that the Afghan border forces opened unprovoked and indiscriminate fire, using heavy weapons, at the civilian area in Balochistan's Chaman city.

On Monday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the "unprovoked shelling and firing" by the Afghan border forces at the Chaman border — which martyred six people and injured 17 others — and stressed the Afghan government should ensure that such incidents are not repeated.

According to the military's media wing, the Afghan border forces used artillery and mortar in the attack.

The ISPR said that Pakistan's troops at the border gave a befitting albeit measured response against the uncalled-for aggression, but avoided targeting innocent civilians in the area.

The statement added the Pakistani border forces have also approached Afghan authorities in Kabul to highlight the severity of the situation and demanded strict action to avoid any such recurrence of the incident in the future.