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Pakistan, Afghanistan Trade Blame on Deadly Attacks

Pakistan's National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz, far left, holds talks with Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, far right, at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, Aug. 13, 2015.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are accusing each other of initiating cross-border fire that resulted in the deaths of security personnel on both sides.

A foreign ministry statement in Islamabad issued Wednesday said the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Janan Moosazai, was summoned to lodge “a strong protest” over the killing of three Pakistani paramilitary troops earlier this week when the Afghan side opened fire at them.

“The Afghan ambassador was conveyed that, as a matter of policy, Pakistani authorities do not initiate fire and return only in self-defense,” the statement added.

The statement says Pakistan’s concerns over recent allegations about Islamabad from the Afghan government also were discussed.

Heavy artillery

A day earlier, the Afghan foreign ministry summoned Pakistan's ambassador to Kabul , Syed Abrar Hussain, to express serious objections to the heavy artillery firing in the eastern border province of Kunar that killed eight Afghan security guards.

The increase in Taliban attacks in Afghanistan has prompted the Afghan leaders to say Pakistan is not doing enough to prevent Islamist insurgents from using its territory for cross-border attacks, charges Pakistani authorities dismiss.

Cooperation between Kabul and Islamabad is seen as key to promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. The spike in insurgent violence and border clashes, however, appear to be complicating the two country's traditionally tense ties, which had seen significant improvement in recent months.

Last week, Pakistan and Afghanistan held high-level meetings to try to ease tensions following a series of terror attacks in Kabul that have killed scores of people.

Pakistan repeatedly has denied any links to Taliban attacks inside Afghanistan and condemned the deadly violence. Pakistan hosted the first round of peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government on July 7.

A second round of meetings set for July 31 was canceled, though, after news broke that longtime Taliban leader Mullah Omar is dead, and in fact has been dead since at least 2013 — disclosures that caused an upheaval in the Taliban hierarchy.