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 For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid