News / Asia

Pakistan Says Afghanistan 'Overreacts' to Cross-Border Shelling

Ayaz Gul
— Pakistan on Wednesday criticized as an “overreaction” Afghanistan’s decision to cancel a military trip over alleged cross-border shelling by Pakistani troops.  Officials have also dismissed Kabul’s allegations that Islamabad is not helping in efforts aimed at advancing the Afghan peace process.  The renewed bilateral tensions come as foreign forces prepare to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.  

A team of 11 officers of the Afghan National Army was due to travel to the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta to participate in a simulated joint military exercise there.  But Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday it is canceling the visit because of what it called “unacceptable artillery shelling” from across the Pakistani border early this week against the Afghan province of Kunar.

Speaking to VOA, Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry says Islamabad did not approve of the Afghan decision to cancel the trip.  He says such interactions help “build bilateral confidence and contribute” toward regional peace efforts.

“It appears that this is an overreaction to a local incident," said Chaudhry. "The report that I have is that there was some intrusion from the Afghan side to which our [military] authorities responded.  I might add that our troops are highly disciplined and responsible.”

Authorities in Islamabad have repeatedly alleged in recent months that fugitive Pakistani militants have taken refuge in border regions of Afghanistan, and are using those regions to launch deadly cross-border raids on military as well as civilian targets inside Pakistan.

Kabul’s move to cancel the military trip comes as both countries are already engaged in angry diplomatic exchanges, accusing each other of obstructing the nascent peace process in Afghanistan, which is supposed to facilitate an orderly withdrawal of NATO forces by the end of next year.  

Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin reportedly stated on Wednesday that “the depth of Pakistan’s complacency” [lack of interest] in the Afghan peace process has “shocked” and “disappointed” his country.  

The criticism apparently came in response to recently reported comments by unnamed Pakistani Foreign Ministry officials, who reportedly described Afghan President Hamid Karzai as the biggest obstacle to political reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Chaudhry rejected those reports as incorrect and baseless, saying President Karzai is held in high esteem in Pakistan.

“Pakistan government is sincere and is serious in advancing the peace process in Afghanistan and in facilitating peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan," he said. "We think, we are in fact convinced, that a peaceful, stable, prosperous Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest, is in the interest of the region. We have taken every possible step to facilitate that. We do hope that this cooperation will continue in the largest interest of peace in Afghanistan.”

The Afghan peace process is primarily meant to persuade Taliban and other insurgent groups fighting NATO forces to engage in talks with negotiators of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council to bring an end to the conflict before the withdrawal of international forces from the country.  Pakistan’s assistance in the peace process is seen as essential because it shares a long porous border with Afghanistan and traditionally has close ties to Afghan insurgents.  

Last year, Afghan peace negotiators were able to secure the release of some senior Taliban leaders being held in Pakistani prisons, hoping the men would be able to persuade insurgents in their home areas to suspend fighting.  But since then, bilateral relations have taken a sharp turn for the worse.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid