The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said that Afghanistan has raised the recent clash between the Afghan security forces and the Pakistani military forces at Chaman crossing with Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul and the Pakistani ministry of foreign affairs.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has also urged the need for a diplomatic solution to the tensions that emerged in the wake of recent clashes in Spin Boldak district.
“What happened in Chaman yesterday should not have happened, we have taken this up with Afghanistan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken it up, I have asked my ambassador to take it up there, I am grateful to Mr. Hanif Atmar who took notice of it, I hope that we will be able to resolve this issue in a good manner,” said Qureshi.
The Spin Boldak clash left at least 15 Afghan civilians dead and 80 more wounded.
In the meantime, a number of Afghan citizens have criticized President Ashraf Ghani for not taking the issue of Pakistan’s shelling on Afghan soil easily.
“I strongly condemn these incidents, I offer my condolences to the families of those martyred,” said Ashraf Ghani.
“Afghanistan has become a country without an owner, there is no one to work for it,” said Shekib, a resident in Kabul.
“I call on the high level officials to not remain silent against them (Pakistan),” said Afsarullah, a resident in Kabul.
“One of the important tasks of the government is to defend Afghanistan’s territorial integrity, but we see it practically that the Afghan government is not taking an interest in doing so,” said Arash Shahrivar, a legal expert in Kabul.
But Pakistan’s foreign ministry in a statement on Friday blamed the Afghan security forces for starting the clash on Thursday night at the Spin Boldak crossing in Kandahar that left at least 15 Afghan civilians dead and 80 more wounded.
In the statement, Pakistan’s foreign ministry claimed that the Pakistan Forces “did not open fire first and responded in self-defense only.”
Afghan officials and eyewitnesses have insisted that Pakistani forces fired first.
A source on Thursday said that Afghan travelers on the Pakistan side of the Chaman crossing in Spin Boldak who were trying to enter Afghanistan were turned away by Pakistani forces, but the Afghans persisted in trying to get through and were fired on by the Pakistani forces, after which Afghan forces on the other side got involved and fired on the Pakistani forces. In retaliation, the Pakistanis fired shells into the Afghanistan territory, hitting Afghan homes.
But Pakistan’s foreign ministry said on Friday that Afghan forces “opened unprovoked fire on innocent civilians gathered towards Pakistan” and then “Pakistan troops deployed on the posts were also simultaneously engaged by Afghan posts. Pakistan troops responded to protect our local population and acted only in self-defense. It is reiterated that Pakistan Force did not open fire first and responded in self-defense only,” the Pakistani statement said.
“To de-escalate the situation, the Pakistan side immediately activated both military and diplomatic channels and it was after hectic efforts that the firing was stopped from Afghan side,” the statement said.
Pakistan’s shelling on Afghan soil is nothing new. Over the past several years, Pakistan has frequently launched missile attacks on Afghan territory along the Durand Line.