Shelling from Afghanistan leaves 19 dead

27 Aug 2007


KABUL, Aug 26: US-led forces and Afghan troops struck Taliban positions inside Pakistan in fresh clashes with the extremist militia that left at least 19 rebels dead, security forces said on Sunday.

The US-led coalition said it received permission from Pakistan to attack across the border on Saturday, but this was denied by the chief military spokesman in Islamabad.

Afghan and coalition forces used mortars and artillery fire to destroy insurgents’ attacking positions on both sides of the border after a military post in Afghanistan came under attack, the coalition said in a statement.

The Afghan army saw Taliban fighters firing mortars and rockets from several positions and Pakistan’s military confirmed three of the firing sites were on their soil, the statement said.

“The Pakistani military gave permission for the Afghan National Security Forces to fire on the targets located within Pakistan,” it said.

Six insurgent firing sites were destroyed -- three on each side of the border -- and more than a dozen insurgents were killed.

A Pakistani military spokesman denied any permission was given.

“There was no attack, no firing from our side of the border. And there was no permission asked by them or given by us,” Maj-Gen Waheed Arshad said.

US military spokeswoman Captain Vanessa Bowman insisted that “this was fully coordinated with Pakistan and agreed on”. There was a very close working relationship (with Pakistan) to eliminate this kind of threat, she said.—AFP