KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — A shootout between Afghan and Pakistani border guards killed one Afghan policeman on Thursday in a remote southern region where the border between the two countries is poorly marked, officials said.
According to police spokesman Zia Durrani in the Afghan province of Kandahar, the skirmish started shortly after dawn and lasted for about two hours. The two sides engaged in sporadic exchanges, using rifles and firing rockets across the boundary, he said.
Kandahar government spokesman Dawakhan Minapal said the fighting in the province's remote Maroof district was sparked by an attempt by the Pakistani border police to construct an outpost on the Afghan side of the border.
But a Pakistani police official, Asif Yusufzai in the southwestern Pakistani district of Qila Saifullah along the border with Afghanistan said Pakistani paramilitary forces "only retaliated" after the Afghan forces started shooting first. He said he didn't have any details on whether anyone was killed or wounded.
Pakistani forces have been constructing a checkpoint on their side of the border, and the Afghan forces have been raising an objection against it, Yusufzai added.
The Afghan forces believe the area where the Pakistanis are constructing the checkpoint is disputed territory, Yusufzai also added.
Pakistan and Afghanistan share a porous border of several hundred kilometers (miles).
The two sides sometime clash and fight over various issues, including claims that forces from one country crossed into the neighbor's territory. There is also violence in the area associated with cross-border movements of militants.
Associated Press Writer Matiullah Achakzai in Chaman, Pakistan, contributed to this report.