ISLAMABAD - Pakistan claims last week’s border clashes with Afghanistan left more than 50 Afghan security troops dead and scores of others wounded while five of their outposts were destroyed.
Major-General Nadeem Anjum, commander of the provincial paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) shared the details Sunday in Quetta, the capital of the southwestern border province of Baluchistan where Thursday’s skirmishes occurred.
The Afghan government swiftly rejected the claims, saying the fighting left four people, including two security personnel, dead on its side with more than 30 wounded.
Pakistani General Anjum blamed Afghan forces for initiating the conflict by staging an “unprovoked” attack on a government team conducting a census on the Pakistani side of two divided villages at the Chaman border.
He reiterated that Afghan authorities had been alerted through military and diplomatic channels about the planned census activity. The cross-border Afghan fire killed at least 12 Pakistanis and wounded more than 40 others, including civilians and security forces, provoking Pakistan’s retaliation, Anjum noted.
Pakistan has since closed the busy Chaman border crossing with landlocked Afghanistan.
Speaking separately to reporters in Quetta, regional military commander Lt. General Aamir Riaz would not say whether Pakistan plans to reopen the crossing as it has stranded hundreds of transit and trade convoys.
“It will remain closed as long as Afghanistan does not mend its unwise way. This unwise way is not good for Afghanistan ,” the general asserted.
But Afghan provincial police chief General Abdul Raziq maintains the villages are located in a disputed part of the border between the two countries, and his forces had warned Pakistani officials against conducting census or any other activity.
Afghanistan disputes portions of its nearly 2,600-kilometer border with Pakistan, which is known as the Durand Line. The frontier was established in 1896 when Britain was ruling the Indian subcontinent.
Islamabad dismisses Kabul's objections over the demarcation and maintains Pakistan inherited the international frontier when it gained independence from Britain in 1947.