Pakistan Army Rejects Claims of Over Cross-Border Shelling
The Pakistani military rejected assertions by Afghan officials that hundreds of artillery shells and rockets were fired into Afghanistan from Pakistani territory.
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The claim by Afghan officials that Pakistani troops fired 400 shells and rockets across the border into Afghanistan was “not correct”, said a Pakistani military official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Pakistani troops “only respond and engage militants from where they are attacked (or) fired upon”, the official said.
The official said that during the past one year, militants based in Afghanistan had carried out 15 cross-border attacks on Pakistani check posts and the civil population in Dir and Chitral areas.
Over 100 civilians and security personnel were killed in these attacks, he said.
Earlier in the day, Afghan officials said hundreds of shells and rockets were fired into Afghanistan from Pakistan, hitting homes and killing four civilians along frontier areas from which militants have staged cross-border attacks in the past.
The shells and rockets hit parts of the Afghan provinces of Nuristan and Kunar, which are considered militant strongholds.
A large number of Pakistani Taliban fighters, who fled from the Swat Valley, are based in the two Afghan provinces.
Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin summoned Pakistan Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq over the shelling.
“Any continuation of such reported shelling against Afghan villages could have a significant negative impact on bilateral relations,” a statement from the Afghan Foreign Ministry quoted Ludin as telling Sadiq.
The two sides agreed to hold a meeting of military officials soon in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad over the shelling and improve coordination along the Durand Line, the statement said.