The Pakistani army said today it has killed over 50 Afghan soldiers near the border between the two countries, as tensions between the two forces escalated after clashes earlier this week killed 10 Pakistani civilians. Major Gen Nadeem Ahmed said more than 100 Afghan soldiers were also injured in the retaliatory attack by the army to the firing by Afghan forces on Friday in the Balochistan province.
Ahmed, however, told reporters he was “not happy” about the incident as “Afghans are Muslims, our brothers.”
Afghan and Pakistani security forces have been fighting since Friday when 10 Pakistani civilians were killed and more than 40 people, including women and children, were injured in in firing by Afghan forces on Pakistani census workers and the troops escorting them at border villages in Balochistan.
The incident marked the latest round of escalation of border tensions between the two countries, which often accuse each other of sheltering terrorists who launch deadly cross-border attacks on each other’s soils. Both the countries deny the accusations.
Separately, Commander of the Southern Command Lt Gen Amir Riaz said the Pakistan Army destroyed five Afghan checkposts.
“Anyone who tries to make Pakistan’s territory disputed will face similar consequences,” Lt Gen Riaz told reporters during a visit to Chaman, where the Friday clashes took place.
To a question on the closure of the border crossing point Bab-e-Dosti, Gen Riaz said it will remain shut unless the situation improves in the area. “The border will remain closed until Afghanistan changes its behaviour,” he said.
Yesterday, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said his country would respond instantly and effectively to cross-border attacks by Afghan forces on the census team.
Major Gen Ahmed said today that Pakistan had informed the Afghan side about the census team in border villages but their border police sneaked into Pakistan area and “used locals as human shields so that they could make a position for attacks.”
He said the census had been going on in the border areas for four days until April 29 when the Afghan forces started to hinder the process.
He claimed that Pakistan tried to resolve the issue through talks but the Afghan forces resorted to force first. But the Frontier Corps secured the area Afghan soldiers had infiltrated on Friday.
“I want to make to clear that not even an inch of our land is negotiable. I hope they have learnt the lesson,” he said.