Exchange of fire at Afghan-Pakistani border crossing kills 1

AP News
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Posted: Jun 13, 2016 10:29 AM

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Afghan border guards and Pakistani security forces exchanged fresh rounds of artillery Monday after an overnight exchange of gunfire at a border crossing killed one Afghan guard and wounded 17 people on both sides, an Afghan official said.

Mohammad Ali Hazarat, the head of the provincial council in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, said the Pakistani army resumed firing artillery and Afghan forces responded in kind. Pakistani officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Torkham crossing was closed following the incident and talks were underway to defuse the situation and reopen it.

Ghuncha Gul, a Pakistani official in the region, said earlier that the Afghan side started shooting late the previous night when construction work began on a new gate on the Pakistani side. He said the gunfire ended around 4 a.m. On the Pakistani side, two guards and nine civilians were wounded.

Afghan Gen. Zarawar Zahid, police chief of Nangarhar, said one Afghan security officer was killed and six were wounded. He said Pakistani forces opened fire after the Afghans asked them to stop work at the gate, which he claimed is located on no-man's land.

Afghanistan does not recognize the present boundary, the so-called Durand Line, as an international border, and has denounced Pakistan's plans to erect a fence at the crossing.

The Pakistani military said it is "constructing a gate on its own side of the border as a necessary measure to check for unwanted and illegal movement."

Islamabad summoned Afghanistan's charge d'affaires on Monday to complain about the incident, the Foreign Ministry said.

Last month, the Torkham crossing was closed over a similar incident and reopened only after an understanding was reached at a meeting between Pakistani army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif and Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal.

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Shah reported from Kabul, Afghanistan.