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    MPs urge retaliation against Pakistan

    KABUL (PAN): The Wolesi Jirga, Afghanistan's lower house of Parliament, on Monday strongly condemned cross-border attacks from Pakistan and called on the Karzai administration to retaliate.

    For about three weeks Pakistani forces have been firing missiles, rockets and mortar shells into Afghanistan's eastern Kunar and Nangarhar provinces.

    Afghan security officials say more than 500 artillery shells have so far been fired from Pakistan into several Afghan villages, killing 41 people and injuring 45 others.

    The continued shelling has forced dozens of families to flee in panic from their homes along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

    "Pakistani forces have been firing missiles into eastern provinces for several days, but Afghan forces are doing nothing," said Mohammad Naeem Hameedi, a lawmaker from southern Kandahar province.

    He denounced the attacks as a blatant violation of Afghanistan's sovereignty, and called on the government to respond.

    "If the security forces cannot retaliate, let us do that," Hameedi said.

    On Sunday, the National Security Council asked Pakistan to halt all cross-border attacks immediately. President Karzai, who chaired the council meeting at the Presidential Palace, said he had discussed the matter with his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari.

    A representative from western Herat province, Ghulam Farooq Majroh, said the government should take urgent steps to prevent further attacks from Pakistan in order to save lives of innocent people.

    Abdul Zahir Qadir, a lawmaker from Nangarhar, one of the eastern provinces that has borne the brunt of the attacks, demanded that the Karzai administration break its silence on the issue.

    He suggested that the Foreign Ministry should again summon the Pakistani ambassador and lodge another formal protest with him.

    After a prolonged debate, Deputy Speaker Ahmad Behzad, who presided over the session, said the security officials concerned would be summoned to the house on Wednesday to brief lawmakers on the issue.

    In a new attack on Sunday night, Pakistani forces fired rockets into Kunar province, killing or wounding 20 people, according to Afghan border police.

    ma/kg



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