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Afghans: Artillery from Pakistan kills four civilians

July 22, 2012


Afghanistan Inside the Afghan Army
- File Photo by AP

KABUL: Afghan officials said Sunday that hundreds of shells and rockets have been fired into Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan, hitting homes and killing four civilians along frontier areas from which insurgents have in the past staged cross-border attacks.

The Afghan government has not yet openly blamed the Pakistani military for the artillery barrage, which reportedly hit districts in the eastern provinces of Nuristan and Kunar.

In the latest reported cross-border violation, nearly 400 rockets and shells were fired into Afghanistan on Saturday and killed at least four people in Dangam district along the border, according to Kunar provincial police chief Gen. Ewaz Mohammad Naziri.

He said those attacks and others in nearby Nuristan had led hundreds of families to flee the area.

There is little or no Afghan or Nato military presence in the area and large swaths of the region are controlled by insurgent groups.

The information could not be independently verified because the area is largely off-limits to reporters.

Kabul's Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai said, ''The rocket attacks in the eastern provinces of Afghanistan are not acceptable to us and we are strongly condemning these attacks.We believe that the continuation of such rocket attacks will have a negative impact on the friendly relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.''

President Hamid Karzai discussed the issue of artillery fire coming from Pakistan at a weekly meeting of his national security council, a statement said. It added that Karzai ordered an in-depth investigation into the attacks.

The issue of cross-border attacks was discussed in Kabul last week during an official visit by Pakistan's new Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Ashraf openly complained at a news conference about attacks against Pakistan originating in Kunar.

Last week, Pakistan said dozens of militants from Afghanistan's Kunar province attacked a village near Pakistan's northwest Bajur tribal area and appeared to be targeting members of a militia fighting Pakistani Taliban.

Local Pakistani officials said 15 militants and two anti-Taliban militiamen were killed.