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Friday July 19, 2024

Child among two martyred in Afghan cross-border firing at Chaman border

Islamabad asks Kabul to hand over culprits involved in "unprovoked and indiscriminate" firing incident

By Zarmeen Zehra
October 04, 2023
A Taliban security personnel stands guard at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in Spin Boldak on December 12, 2022. — AFP
A Taliban security personnel stands guard at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in Spin Boldak on December 12, 2022. — AFP

RAWALPINDI: Two Pakistani civilians, including a child, were martyred when Afghan security forces Wednesday opened "unprovoked and indiscriminate" fire on pedestrians crossing the Chaman border, according to the military's media wing.

The unfortunate event took place at 4pm at the Friend Ship Gate of the border crossing along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Balochistan, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

"The incident occurred at the outbound gate located on the zero line," the statement said, noting that two Pakistani citizens — including a 12-year-old — embraced martyrdom, while another child was injured.

In response, Pakistani troops exercised extreme restraint and avoided any exchange of fire in the presence of innocent passengers to avoid collateral damage, the ISPR statement said.

The Chaman border has been, over the years, repeatedly closed and then re-opened after Afghan forces resorted to such extreme measures, with the Pakistani side stressing restraint.

In today's statement, the ISPR said Islamabad has approached Kabul's authorities to inquire about the reason behind such an irresponsible and reckless act and to apprehend and hand over the culprit to Pakistani authorities.

The military said that the Afghan government is also expected to exercise control over its troops and impart discipline to act responsibly in order to avoid the recurrence of such incidents in the future.

"Pakistan remains committed to [contributing] towards peace, prosperity, and development through positive and constructive bilateral relations, however, such unpleasant occurrences have the potential to harm the sincere intent and purpose."

The bodies of the deceased, meanwhile, have been shifted to the DHQ Hospital Chaman, and the injured child, who was immediately evacuated by security forces, is under treatment.

The development comes a day after Pakistan told hundreds of thousands of Afghans living illegally in Pakistan to leave voluntarily until November 1 or face deportation.

The order came as Pakistan grapples with a rise in attacks the government blames on militants operating from Afghanistan.

Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said 1.7 million Afghans were in Pakistan illegally.