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FO looking into reports of ‘action’ by Pakistan in Afghanistan

By News Desk
April 17, 2022
The Foreign Office building, Islamabad. Photo: The News/File
The Foreign Office building, Islamabad. Photo: The News/File

KARACHI: The Foreign Office on Saturday said it was “looking into” reports of alleged action by Pakistani forces in the eastern Afghan provinces of Kunar and Khost.

The FO’s response was to claims made by an Afghan government official and a resident in Kunar province that Pakistani forces fired rockets early Saturday, leaving six people dead. 

“Five children and a woman were killed and a man wounded,” provincial director of information Najibullah Hassan Abdaal alleged. Ehsanullah, a resident of Shelton district where the alleged attack reportedly took place, said it was carried out by Pakistani military aircraft. Ehsanullah goes by one name as many Afghans do.

Another Afghan government official alleged that a pre-dawn bombardment was carried out in Afghanistan’s Khost province near the border with Pakistan. The official, on condition of anonymity, alleged that “Pakistani helicopters bombarded four villages” in Khost, adding that “there were casualties”. An Afghan tribal elder from Khost, Gul Markhan, also spoke to the AFP regarding the incident in Khost.

Pakistan’s ambassador in Kabul, Mansoor Ahmad Khan, has so far not responded to queries about allegations from the Afghan side and the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has not yet issued a statement in this regard.

Also Saturday, an Afghan Foreign Ministry statement said Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Deputy Defence Minister Mullah Shirin Akhund met with the Pakistani ambassador and condemned the recent attacks on Khost and Kunar provinces, stressing prevention of such acts. “Minister Muttaqi said all military violations, including that in Khost and Kunar must be prevented as such acts deteriorate relations between the two countries, allowing antagonists to misuse the situation leading to undesired consequences,” the statement said.

It added the Pakistani envoy was given a strong demarche. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also condemned the alleged attacks. “IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) calls on the Pakistani side not to test the patience of Afghans on such issues.” He added: “Problems between the two countries must be resolved through political means.”

MNA Mohsin Dawar also raised the issue in Saturday’s National Assembly session, terming the reported incident as a “highly tragic one”. He claimed that the alleged victims were internally displaced persons from North Waziristan who had crossed into Afghanistan before the start of Zarb-i-Azab.

“Yesterday night, Pakistan Army and air force’s planes carried out bombardments across the Afghan border and over 40 people were martyred in that,” the MNA said. On Friday, the Pakistan Army said terrorists ambushed a military convoy near the Pak-Afghan border in the general area of Isham, North Waziristan District, martyring seven Pakistani security men. “Own troops initiated a prompt response, effectively engaged and killed four terrorists. However, during an intense exchange of fire, seven soldiers embraced Shahadat,” the ISPR had said. Pakistan has long been saying that the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan has been using Afghan soil for attacks on Pakistani border posts. - additional input by AFP