Pakistan summons Afghan envoy on cross-border shelling

Islamabad, June 13 (IANS) Pakistan on Monday summoned the Afghan envoy to lodge a protest against cross-border shelling by Afghan troops that injured at least two soldiers and nine civilians, a foreign ministry statement said.

The Pakistani Army said Afghan troops “resorted to indiscriminate firing” at Torkham border point where Pakistan is constructing a gate on own side of the border as a necessity to check unwanted and illegal movement.

“Today, Afghan envoy was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey Pakistan’s strong protest over unprovoked firing by the Afghan forces at Pakistani forces on Torkham border crossing,” the statement said.

“The Afghan envoy was told that the firing incident was contrary to the spirit of friendly relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Afghan side was urged to thoroughly investigate the incident and share the findings with Pakistani authorities,” it said.

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah told ministers that Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to observe ceasefire along the Torkham border and solve the problem through diplomatic means.

Adullah confirmed that one Afghan border police was killed and six others were injured in clashes.

The Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman said it was further emphasized that all steps should be taken for avoiding recurrence of such incidents in the future.

The firing was aimed at disrupting the construction of a gate well inside Pakistani territory at the border which is being constructed to facilitate the cross-border movement of people and vehicles.

“It was conveyed to the Afghan side that the regulation of movements at Torkham is part of government’s policy to strengthen border management. Therefore, Afghan government’s cooperation was needed as it would enhance mutual security and help combat the threat of terrorism,” the spokesman said.

The Afghan foreign ministry also said that it wants to solve border issues with Pakistan through diplomatic channels.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan considers this tension as unpleasant. Afghanistan adheres to its pervious accords with Pakistan and emphasizes peaceful methods and expects from Pakistani side to tackle this problem through diplomatic channels,” a statement said in Kabul.

–IANS

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