Border troops of Pakistan, Afghanistan exchange fire - M5 Dergi
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Border troops of Pakistan, Afghanistan exchange fire

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Firing takes place day after Kabul unilaterally shut down key border crossing with Pakistan

Border troops of Pakistan and Afghanistan exchanged fire along a key border crossing on Monday, officials and local media reported.

The firing – the latest in a series of clashes between the neighbors – took place a day after Afghanistan’s Taliban government unilaterally shut down the northwestern Torkham crossing for all kinds of movement, accusing Islamabad of not “honoring its commitments.”

It came after Pakistani border authorities allegedly refused to let an attendant of an Afghan patient enter their side of the border, local broadcaster Dunya News reported.

In a statement late on Monday, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid alleged that the border was shut down in protest over Pakistani border officials’ “derogatory” attitude towards Afghan travelers, including patients and women.

“Talks are underway at local level and … the issue will soon be resolved,” he said.

Mujahid denied there was any clashes at the Torkham border, claiming that the exchange of fire occurred in “some other district of (eastern) Nangarhar province.”

Earlier, a video clip on social media showed visuals of the porous border with heavy gunfire in the background. The veracity of the video could not be confirmed.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from either side.

In a brief reply to Anadolu’s message, Irshad Khan, assistant commissioner of Landi Kotal, a town which sits on the Torkham border, said: “It’s calm there now.”

However, the crossing still remains closed.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the Paksitani Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, was not available for a comment despite repeated attempts.

Mohammad Siddique, the Taliban commissioner at Torkham, accused Islamabad of “not abiding by its commitments.”

“Pakistan has not abided by its commitments and so the gateway has been shut down on the directions of (our) leadership,” the commissioner said in a tweet on Sunday.

Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan share 18 crossing points, with the busiest ones being the Torkham and southwestern Chaman border posts.

There have been frequent clashes between the two border forces, with no lull even after the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

Last December, at least six Pakistani civilians were killed in an exchange of heavy firing along the Chaman border, which connects Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province with Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province.

Apart from trade activities, thousands of people, mainly Afghans, cross between the two bordering areas daily for work or medical purposes.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share a porous border of almost 2,670 kilometers (1,640 miles).

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