ISLAMABAD / CHITRAL: An exchange of fire took place between Afghan and Pakistani security forces along the border in the Arandu Gol area of Chitral that left 11 people injured, said a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Tuesday.

Afghan security forces fired mortars and heavy machine guns in Narai district of Kunar province, targeting civilian population in the Arandu village. As a result, six soldiers and five civilians, including a woman, were injured. The Pakistani forces responded effectively to the shelling and targeted Afghan border posts in Kandak and Dilbar areas where firing had been initiated, said the ISPR.

The firing and shelling stopped after engagement at the military level, it said, adding that substantial damage was inflicted on the Afghan border posts.

The Afghans used Armoured Personnel Carriers to evacuate their dead to the Narai base. Two APCs were damaged during the shelling.

Commandant of Chitral Task Force Brig Moeenuddin told Dawn that the firing left many civilians with minor injuries. He said that two flag meetings between representatives of the forces of the two countries took place to seek a permanent halt to the firing from the Afghan side.

He said the Afghan side had raised objections when work on a border fence had started.

According to Abdul Ghani Musamem, a spokesman for the governor of Afghanistan’s Kunar province, clashes erupted when Afghan troops used force to stop construction of a border installation. Pakistan Army is currently fencing the border and building forts for paramilitary forces along the porous Pak-Afghan border to check illegal cross-border movement of people.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2019