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Pakistan Troops Cross Border to Rescue Wounded Afghan Soldier

  • Ayaz Gul

Afghanistan has confirmed that Pakistan's military had rescued and provided medical treatment to a member of the Afghan security force who was wounded in clashes with militants near the border a day earlier.

An interior ministry statement issued in Kabul Wednesday said the incident happened in the Nowapass area of the eastern Kunar province. It said a Pakistani mobile health unit treated the Afghan police officer at the "Zero" point of the borer.

Tuesday's rescue operation undertaken by the Pakistani military was a rare practical demonstration of increased bilateral security cooperation.

Military officials in Pakistan said its troops crossed the border and went “600 meters inside” Afghanistan to rescue an Afghan soldier who was critically wounded in a firefight with what were said to be “terrorists.”

They said Pakistani troops moved into action “quickly” after Afghan authorities requested the “evacuation and treatment” of the soldier.

The cross-border rescue operation took place in eastern Afghanistan opposite the Pakistani Bajur tribal district.

Army officials say that a “severely injured” member of the Afghan National Army was briefly treated at a medical facility near the border before he was repatriated to his country in an Afghan helicopter.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have increased border security cooperation in recent months while political relations have expanded.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is credited with the positive trend in bilateral ties as part of his efforts to win Pakistan’s cooperation in tackling the Taliban insurgency and develop a tension-free relationship.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government says it is also sticking to a policy of non-interference in Afghanistan and is making efforts to help end the protracted conflict in the neighboring country.

Sharif’s special assistant on foreign policy, Tariq Fatemi, admits the way forward is fraught with challenges because of years of mutual suspicions and distrust.

“It is not going to be easy. We know that history places a heavy burden and it will take time and effort but we are already headed in the right direction,” said Fatemi.

Spy agencies of Afghanistan and Pakistan also have recently signed a memorandum of understanding to share intelligence and consider coordinated operations against militant forces operating on both sides of their shared 2,400-kilometer border.

But President Ghani is under pressure at home from political opponents who are demanding the deal be canceled, condemning it as against Afghanistan’s national interests.

Afghans have long blamed the Pakistani spy agency for fueling the conflict in their country by supporting and sheltering commanders of the Taliban and other anti-government groups.​

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