Pak soldier killed in border clash with Afghan troops

Thursday, February 3, 2011

MIRANSHAH - A Pakistani soldier was killed and three others wounded in a clash with Afghan forces on the Pak-Afghan border, Pakistani officials said.

The clash took place in the Ghulam Khan area in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region- an area considered to be a safe haven for the al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

It is the most serious cross-border clash between the two countries since May 2007 when three civilians and a policeman were killed, the BBC quoted correspondents, as saying.

Officials of both countries accused each other of starting the firing on Wednesday.

“At around 1100 [0630 GMT] on Wednesday, Pakistani troops in Waziristan started firing heavy and light weapons towards police posts in Gurbuz district. Our soldiers returned fire,” a border police commander in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Khost told a news agency.

“Their attack was completely unprovoked and without reason. The fighting is still continuing, there [have not] been casualties on our side,” the commander added.

But a Pakistani military official in the nearby city of Peshawar gave an entirely different version of the incident.

He told the news agency that “Afghan forces fired several mortar shells on one of our military check posts, leaving one soldier dead and injuring three others”.

“We fired in retaliation,” the officials said, adding, “Our troops are using artillery and mortars.”

Afghanistan and Pakistan are routinely at loggerheads over border security, accusing each other of allowing militants to infiltrate the porous and mountainous border to carry out terror attacks.

Afghan and Western officials say the Taliban insurgency is sustained in Afghanistan because terrorists are able to operate from the sanctuaries in Pakistan’s tribal belt. (ANI)

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