Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Pakistani civilians killed in Afghan firing

Pakistani civilians killed in Afghan firing

At least nine people have been killed and dozens others, including paramilitary personnel, wounded after coming under fire from Afghan forces while conducting a population census near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Pakistani security officials said. He claimed that their forces damaged two Pakistani tanks in the exchange of fire. Supplies to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces stationed in Afghanistan has also suffered because of the sudden and unannounced closure of the Friendship Gate.

According to sources, Saturday's meeting continued for over an hour. This has caused several fatalities on both sides of the border.

Reiterating its charge that India and Afghanistan had formed a nexus against it, Pakistan has asked the United States to help break the alleged alliance "for the sake of regional peace", a media report here said on Monday.

Meanwhile, Pakistan deployed more army and FC troops on the border.

The gunfire from Afghanistan came as census workers escorted by troops were going door-to-door in villages located along the border as part of a nationwide census, which began in March. He said the border is still closed. Majority of the villagers have already left their homes. Pedestrian movement has also been banned in the no-go area.

Major General Hiwa Rash said two attackers blew themselves up at the entrance to the base and the other three were killed in a shootout with Kurdish forces.

"The Friendship Gate will not open till the issue is resolved", the officials said.

Last year, Pakistan started building a barrier at the main border crossing in the town of Torkham, near the Khyber Pass, angering Afghanistan which has never formally recognised the colonial-era Durand Line border drawn up in 1893.

The attack triggered intense fighting with government forces that sent civilians fleeing toward the provincial capital of Kunduz.

The clashes prompted thousands of families to flee the area, he said.

He said Pakistan and Afghanistan are fighting against terrorism and there is need of further united efforts to combat the menace. "This unwise way is not good for Afghanistan", the general asserted.

He said the country had again offered its full cooperation to the Afghan government to eliminate terrorism and restore peace.

According to a United States watchdog, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR): "Casualties suffered by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in the fight against the Taliban and other insurgents continue to be shockingly high".

Meanwhile, Pakistani and Afghan military commanders on Sunday agreed to carry out a geological survey of the border area.

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