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Afghan military delegation is scheduled to visit Pakistan

21 November, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Afghan military says its delegation is scheduled to visit Pakistan in a couple of days for talks on the recent “rocket fire into Afghanistan” from the Pakistani side of the border. Afghan officials claim that hundreds of Pakistani rockets landed in border areas in eastern Kunar province in recent days, forcing some people to move to other places. The talks will be held at a time when the Pakistan Army says that terrorist attacks from the Afghan side of the border have increased in recent weeks.

Afghan Chief of General Staff Mohammad Sharif Yaftali said in Kabul on Monday that Pakistan’s rocket fire had been stopped. He said Afghanistan was trying to find out diplomatic solution to all problems with Pakistan.

“There had been no border violation over the past 24 hours. Talks and diplomatic contacts to solve the problem are underway,” he said in reported comments in Kabul.

BBC Pashto quoted Afghan Army Chief General Yaftali as saying that a two-start level delegation of the military officials would visit Pakistan in a couple of days for talks on the issue.

“We had serious discussions on the issue and the problem will be solved. Resolute Support Mission Commander General John Nicholson is also aware of it,” he said.

Gen Nicholson was also quoted as saying in Kabul on Monday that he would address to Pakistan concerns if they had on cross-border attacks.

Pakistan denied artillery shelling into Afghanistan and said the army “does not fire unless it is attacked”.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said that Afghan areas, which were out of the control of the Afghan government, were used for attacks on Pakistan, and the security forces only target the same areas.

“Armed groups have sanctuaries in these ungoverned areas, which are used for attacks on our posts. We have been demanding that these areas should be brought under control,” he said.

He said the Afghan forces should take action against the safe heavens to stop attacks on Pakistan. “We deny all claims. The Pakistan Army does not fire on anyone unless they are fired upon,” the spokesman told BBC Pashto on Monday.

He referred to a recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which says that over 43 percent areas in Afghanistan are out the control of the Afghan government.

On November 13, Pakistan’s military said that two security personnel were martyred in terrorists’ firing from the Afghan side of the border. An army statement said terrorists fired from across the border on Pakistani border post in Bajaur tribal region.

It was the fourth terrorist attack on Pakistani border posts from the Afghan side of the border in two months. On November 9, a Pakistani soldier was martyred in terrorists’ firing from the Afghan side of the border, according to the army. Another soldier was martyred in terrorists’ firing in the same area on October 4. On September 23, the officer commanding Lieutenant Arsalan Alam of a post in Khyber tribal region was martyred as a result of firing by terrorists.

The banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar had claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Pakistani security officials say the Pakistani Taliban, who have fled to Afghanistan as a result of military operations, operate from the Afghan border regions and routinely carry out attacks on Pakistani border posts.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have nearly 2,600-kilometre-long border, mostly porous, and now the Pakistan Army is fencing the border to stop the cross-border movement of the militants. Pakistan has been urging Afghanistan to take measures to secure the border on their side.

Shortly after terrorists from the Afghan side took the lives of two Pakistani soldiers, including a captain on November 13, the Pakistanis military spokesman urged Afghan officials to take steps for security of the border to stop such attacks.

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