Pakistan, Afghanistan start joint survey after border clash

Pakistan, Afghanistan start joint survey after border clash

Afghanistan's envoy to Pakistan on Monday rejected claims that Pakistani security forces killed 50 Afghan soldiers in retaliation for a cross-border attack at Chaman, saying only two Afghan soldiers were slain and seven more injured.

The meeting, which lasted for more than two hours, also discussed other issues pertaining to the Pakistan and Afghanistan border.

"We are not happy over the human and other losses suffered by the Afghan forces as they are our Muslim brothers".

On Saturday, 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.

In yet another tragic episode on the Durand Line, the worldwide border that separates Pakistan from Afghanistan, the Afghan forces - without provocation - started shelling at the Chaman border on Friday.

The foreign ministry summoned the Afghan Charge d' Affairs in Islamabad and strongly protested over the "unprovoked" firing and demanded Kabul take immediate action against those responsible for starting it.

He said Pakistan, on its part, has been taking measures for border management, but Afghanistan has taken no step in that regard.

Media reports in Afghanistan citing a police chief said four Afghan security personnel were killed and 14 police and at least 23 civilians wounded.

Both sides rushed reinforcements to the border and Pakistani authorities closed the Chaman crossing indefinitely once again.

"The DGMO Pakistan Army told his counterpart that we shall continue our work within our border", the army said.

Maj Gen Anjum told reporters in Chaman that Afghan troops had attacked the census staff and entered the two villages and started firing and shelling on civilians.

Meanwhile, an Afghan truck driver was killed after a rocket fired from across the border on Friday hit him in Nangarhar province, said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

Recent Pakistani attempts to establish fences and border posts along the border to curtail the movement of Taliban fighters into Pakistan have been met with resistance from Afghanistan, which disputes the border.

However, he said, they would no more let them repeat such practice again.

The attack Friday was near the Chaman border crossing into Pakistan's Balochistan province. The 2,500 kilometer-long border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is largely unpoliced and passes through much mountainous terrain. In March 20, Nawaz Sharif; Pakistani PM ordered the crossing to be reopened.

But Sediq Siddiqi, a senior spokesman for the Kabul government, on Sunday "totally rejected" the Pakistani claim of killing 50 Afghan forces as "very false".

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