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Islamabad Protests to US Forces Over Killing of Pakistani Soldier

Pakistan has lodged a protest with U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan responsible for border security, after one of Pakistan's soldiers was killed and three injured in a cross-border clash. However, the Pakistanis are not blaming coalition soldiers for the casualties, but suspect militants or others are responsible for the clash.

Pakistan military officials say the incident took place Sunday in the country's North Waziristan tribal region, near the Afghan border.

Military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan tells VOA that up to 25 mortar rounds were fired across the border from Afghanistan onto Pakistani positions, causing the casualties.

"The fire had come from the other side of the border from Afghanistan," he said. "Considering it as a hostile fire, the Pakistani troops responded. Pakistan got four soldiers injured, out of whom one succumbed to the injuries."

General Sultan says the protest was lodged because coalition forces are responsible for security on the Afghan side of the border. But he suggests that terrorists, or the Afghan army, and not U.S. troops, might have fired on the Pakistani troops.

There have been several incidents in the past three years when Pakistani and Afghan forces exchanged fire along the border.

"It could be the terrorists, it could be the ANA [Afghan National Army], people we don't know, but certainly it can't be the American soldiers. No," he added.

The coalition forces are deployed on the Afghan side of the mountainous border to hunt down militants linked to the ousted Taleban regime and the al-Qaida terror network.

Pakistan has deployed thousands of soldiers on its side of the border, in the Waziristan region, to capture or kill militants fleeing from the pursuers in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, a U.S military spokesman in Afghanistan says an American soldier was killed and three others were wounded in a clash with suspected militants in eastern Afghanistan Monday.

The spokesman also confirmed Sunday's killing of another U.S soldier by a suspected Taleban militant in the Afghan province of Herat. He says the attacker was subsequently shot dead by U.S troops.