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Pakistan, Kabul at loggerheads over border violence

July 02, 2012 23:34 IST

Against the backdrop of growing tensions over cross-border attacks by rebels, Pakistan on Monday accused about 60 Afghan soldiers of crossing into the country and triggering clashes that killed two tribesman.

The Afghan soldiers, who were reportedly pursuing Taliban fighters, crossed into the Kurram region in Pakistan's tribal belt, security officials were quoted as saying by the local media.

On seeing the Afghan troops, local tribesmen opened fire. Two tribesmen were killed and another was injured in the exchange of fire that lasted over 90 minutes. Pakistani authorities then despatched troops to the area, the officials said.

The Afghan defence ministry denied reports of the clash, describing them as 'wrong and without basis'.

This was the latest in a string of incidents that have increased tensions along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani recently asked International Security Assistance Force commander General John Allen to act against terrorists who were launching attacks from Afghan soil.

Officials said dozens of Afghanistan-based terrorists on Sunday attacked a check post in Dir district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

This was the second such attack in eight days. The officials said six terrorists were killed when troops retaliated.

On June 24, scores of Pakistani Taliban fighters based in Afghanistan sneaked across the border and attacked Pakistani troops in the former Taliban stronghold of Upper Dir.

The terrorists captured and later beheaded 17 Pakistani soldiers. The Pakistani Taliban later released a video that showed the heads of the 17 soldiers.

Pakistani security officials have said hundreds of terrorists loyal to Maulana Fazlullah, the former Taliban commander in Swat, had gathered in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province.

Fazlullah fled to Afghanistan when the Pakistan army launched an operation to flush out the Taliban from Swat in 2009.

Over the past few days, Afghan officials have also accused Pakistani troops of shelling border villages. Kabul has threatened to report Islamabad to the United States Security Council over the shelling.

A spokesman for Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security said cross-border fire had killed four people, including a woman and a child, and injured six others in the past week.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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