PESHAWAR: The Afghan Taliban have attributed Tuesday’s cross-border firing to attempts by Pakistani forces to build a post close to the Durand Line.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Deputy Spokesman for the Emirate-i-Islamia Afghanistan Bilal Karimi said that “as a matter of principle”, construction of military installations or posts was not permissible in close proximity of the Durand Line.

But the Pakistani troops, he claimed, attempted to build a post close to the border and when “some people from the Emirate-i-Islamia” approached them to discuss the issue, “unfortunately, they were fired upon as a result of which there were casualties”.

“Subsequently, there was [an] exchange of fire between the two sides which possibly caused some casualties on the other side as well,” he said.

Mr Karimi’s remarks follow a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations, the media affairs wing of Pakistan military, soon after the incident on Tuesday. The ISPR said that three Pakistani soldiers embraced martyrdom in firing by “terrorists from inside Afghanistan” in the general area of Kharlachi, Kurram tribal district.

“As per credible intelligence reports, due to fire of [our] own troops, terrorists suffered heavy casualties,” it further said.

“Pakistan strongly condemns the use of Afghan soil by terrorists for activities against Pakistan and expects that Afghan government will not allow conduct of such activities in future,” the ISPR had said.

On Wednesday, Mr Karimi said the matter was under investigation and that they were in contact with the leadership to preempt the construction of posts in the nearby areas in future.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2022

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