Pakistani, Afghan Troops Trade Fire Along Border, At Least 15 Killed

Slain Mostly Civilians, Pakistan PM Blames Afghan Troops for Firing First

For hours, villages in Chaman, along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, raged with the sound of gunbattles between the Pakistani military forces guarding their side of the border, and the Afghan forces doing the same thing. At least 15 were killed, mostly civilians, and over 40 others wounded in the exchange of fire.

Border skirmishes are not uncommon, as Afghanistan doesn’t recognize the de facto border of the last 120 years, and actually claims large portions of Pakistan actually are part of Afghanistan. This is one of the first major fights in awhile, however.

Both sides were also quick to blame the other for starting it, with Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif quick to issue a statement complaining that Afghan forces shelled villages in Pakistani Baluchistan totally unprovoked to start the conflict.

The Afghan government hasn’t managed to get around to responding directly, though provincial officials claimed that Pakistani forces attacked the border troops first, and that the artillery fire was purely in retaliation for that, even though by all indications it only hit civilian targets.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.