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Pak-Afghan forces exchanged fire on Chaman border

15 October, 2018

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QUETTA: Pakistani and Afghan forces exchanged fire on Sunday about 60km north of the border town of Chaman, with the clash lasting several hours.

Pakistani officials confirmed the incident and said Afghan troops opened fire on Pakistani personnel who were erecting a fence along the border in the Tandah Dara Sarochahan area. There were no reports of casualties in the clash.

After the incident, Pakistani border authorities closed the Friendship Gate near Chaman, leaving thousands of people stranded on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border.

According to sources, Afghan security personnel had been converging onto the border area for the last several days and on Sunday afternoon they began firing towards the Pakistani troops who were busy erecting the fence. Pakistani troops returned the fire.

According to some sources, Afghan troops exchan­ged harsh words with Pakistani military men before opening fire on the latter.

The exchange of fire ended in the evening, said officials. “The firing stopped late in the evening but the situation is still tense,” they said, adding that Pakistani officials had deployed more troops to the area.

Pakistan has been erecting a fence along its western border to stop illegal influx of terrorists and smugglers from Afghanistan who often use infrequent routes to enter Pakistan. Pakistan has already informed the Afghan government of its decision to build a border fence.

However, Afghan officials in the Spin Buldak area raised objections to Islamabad’s decision. Afghan officials visited Chaman a few months ago to hold talks with Pakistani officials on the matter.

Meanwhile, Pakistani and Afghan border officials reopened the Friendship Gate in the evening after mediation by Muhammad Asghar Khan, a member of the Balochistan Assembly.

Mr Khan contacted officials of both the sides and requested them to allow people stranded on the two sides of the border to cross over to the other side. In the evening the gate was reopened and people were allowed to cross over to the other side. The border crossing, however, would remain closed on Monday (today).

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