KANDAHAR CITY: A fierce clash that broke out early on Friday morning between Afghan and Pakistani border guards along the Durand Line was still ongoing, officials said.
The clash continued between the two sides in Luqman village that falls in the zero point area of the border between the two countries, Kandahar police official Ghorzang Afridi told media.
He said the clash erupted at about 4am and accused the Pakistani militia forces of initiating the gun-battle. He claimed the Pakistani forces fired light and heavy weapons targeting the Afghan forces.
Afridi said the clash was ongoing and additional forces had been sent to the border. He said the Afghan forces captured and torched two armoured vehicles of the Pakistani forces.
One Afghan border police was injured in the clash and he had no information about casualties across the border in Balochistan’s Chaman town.
He said Luqman village belonged to Spin Boldak border district of southern Kandahar province, but the Pakistani side considered the village their own.
Afridi said the clash occurred three days after Pakistan’s population census officials, accompanied by border militia forces, visited the Luqman village to conduct the census, but Afghan border guards prevented their move.
In retaliation, he said, the Pakistani forces opened fire at the Afghan forces.
At least 7 killed as Afghan forces open fire: Pakistan
Dawn.com reported that at least seven people were killed as Afghan border forces opened fire on security personnel guarding a census team in Balochistan’s Chaman area early on Friday.
Another 22 people were wounded due to firing from the Afghan side,
Killa Abdullah District Police Officer (DPO) Sajid Mohmand was quoted as saying. The injured included four FC Balochistan men.
The Pakistan Army’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), in a statement had said the Afghan Border Police opened fire on Frontier Corps (FC) personnel detailed for the security of a census team in Chaman, leaving one person dead and 18 injured. The death toll subsequently rose to seven.
Samim Khpalwak, spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province, told a foreign news agency that one Afghan civilian and three border police forces were wounded in the exchange of fire.
ISPR said the Afghan border guards’ opened fire despite the fact that Afghan authorities had been informed in advance about the census exercise in Pakistan and coordination was carried out through diplomatic and military channels.
Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told a weekly briefing in Islamabad that the Afghan authorities had been informed about the on-going census exercise.
The FO added that Pakistan the right to retaliate after the exchange of fire, but said that Pakistan’s efforts for peace in Afghanistan would continue.
“Dialogue is the only political means available to us to establish peace in Afghanistan,” Zakaria said.
The Chaman border crossing was sealed as Pakistani and Afghan troops continued to exchange fire, the ISPR said.
THE PASHTUN TIMES