Pakistan summons Afghan officials over cross-border shelling in Chaman-Spin Boldak area

ISLAMABAD [Pakistan], Dec 17: Pakistan’s foreign office on Friday summoned the Afghan officials in Islamabad and issued a “strong condemnation” over the recent incidents of cross-border shelling in the Chaman-Spin Boldak area.
“Afghan Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad was called into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Pakistan’s strong condemnation over recent incidents of unprovoked cross-border shelling by Afghan Border Security Forces in the Chaman-Spin Boldak area, resulting in loss of life, injuries and damage to property, was conveyed,” the Pakistan foreign ministry said in a statement. “It was reiterated that protection of civilians remained the responsibility of both sides and that recurrence of these incidents must be prevented. It was agreed to use established institutional mechanisms in this regard,” the statement added.
This statement comes after armed clashes erupted between security forces from Pakistan and Afghanistan at the border in Chaman, leaving at least one dead and 15 others injured, the Dawn newspaper reported.
After the clash, Chaman authorities declared an emergency, closing the markets. Two women and children were among the injured people in Thursday’s clash.
In a statement, Pakistan military’s media wing blamed said Afghanistan for “indiscriminate fire” on the civilian population of Chaman. However, the Taliban pinned it on Pakistan, accusing them of aggression.
Last month, the Pak-Afghan border, also known as the “Friendship Gate” was closed briefly after an armed man opened fire from the Afghan side, killing a Pakistani soldier, the previous week.
The incident left two security personnel injured and prompted the closure of the border between the two countries at Chaman, Balochistan, Dawn reported. After the friendship gate reopened at the Chaman border, the security officials of both Pakistan and Afghanistan shook hands.
During a flag meeting at Friendship Gate, the two sides discussed the need for a “joint mechanism” to end incidents of violence at the border. The idea of joint interrogations has also been proposed to probe the incident, Dawn reported.
Following the incident last week, the trade between the two countries, including the Afghan transit trade, was suspended.
The Asian Lite International, in its report, said growing incidents of border clashes can be seen as Pakistan’s tactical ploy to punish the Taliban for failing to successfully negotiate a peace deal with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terror group.
“Pakistan is feeling frustrated with the ongoing instability in Afghanistan and may not want to be seen as an ‘ally’ of the Taliban government to avoid the burden of stabilising Afghanistan, when Islamabad is facing unprecedented economic and political crises itself,” the report added. (ANI)