Pakistan artillery kills 15 civilians in Afghanistan after clashes at closed border

Elias Hubbard
August 1, 2020

The FO said that despite the unfortunate incident, "Pakistan reiterates its honest readiness to further enhance fraternal relations with Afghanistan in the interest of peace and stability in the region".

Pakistan's security forces opened fire on protesters demanding the reopening of a border crossing with Afghanistan, killing at least three people and wounding 30 others, security sources said on Friday.

Earlier, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said that the violent clashes occurred after the government put a stop to smuggling.

According to the minister, Pakistan has been regulating the movement of people from across the border to avoid infiltration of unwelcome persons and smugglers.

The minister said that it was a few rogue elements among those who had stayed behind who incited the others to violence.

"If the Pakistani military continues its rocket attacks on Afghan territory, they will face retaliation by the Afghan army", Afghanistan's defence ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Movement between Afghanistan and Pakistan has been restricted recently due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. But there also are Afghans and Pakistanis on either side waiting to cross the border to visit their families for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

"We opened the border for one day so that important items could reach Afghanistan".

"We have always taken steps for the betterment of Afghanistan". "And there is a high probability of smuggling through borders". "We will request the Afghan government for cooperation as we facilitate trade with it".

Afghan officials accused Pakistan of firing shells and gunfire across the border into a crowd of civilians, killing 15 people, while Islamabad said Afghan forces opened fire first.

Balochistan Interior Minister Zia Lango told a news conference in Quetta that the Pakistan-Afghanistan border has been closed for security reasons. Minister Zamrak Khan, MPA Achakzai and Frontier Corps officials held a detailed meeting to end the ongoing conflict.

Locals and officials told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal that a group of people who have been staging a sit-in at the border over the past several weeks attempted to get closer to a border checkpoint and that some of the protesters set fire to a quarantine center for people affected by the coronavirus.

Medical Superintendent of the DHQ hospital where the injured, including Levies personnel, were shifted, described their condition as critical.

ANP, a coalition party in the Balochistan government, held protests all over the province against the tragic incident at the Pak-Afghan border, calling for an inquiry and bringing all responsible to justice.

On Thursday, a protest against the closure of the border was held.

Furthermore, they had allegedly set fire to computers at a National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) office for border management, about 100 containers belonging to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) as well as tents and offices at a quarantine centre nearby.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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