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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid