Afghan forces on standby at Torkham border
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Officials on Monday said Afghan security forces have been put on standby to respond to any possible movement by Pakistani forces after last night fierce clash between the two sides at the Torkham border crossing.
The border skirmish erupted late on Sunday night after Afghan forces prevented the Pakistani forces from installing a gate at the border crossing. Some sources said the clash lasted “seven” hours.
Afghan officials said one Afghan security personnel was killed and the Pakistanis have also suffered casualties. Though the clash had come to an end, the situation along the border remains tense.
Groups of Afghan security forces have taken position in various parts of the Torkham township with their fingers on the trigger.
The usually crowded dry port has been closed and shopkeepers of the bazaar have assembled away from the bazaar in various areas. No vehicular movement could be seen.
Afghan 301 border zone official Col. Ayub Hussainkhel told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Pakistani militia forces wanted to install a gate at the border crossing and the Afghan side opposed it.
“They (Pakistani forces) were installing the gate against international laws, we prevented them and they attacked us in reaction and we returned fire,” he said.
He said the Afghan forces were in high morale and could respond to any provocation from the Pakistani side.
Quick reaction force commander of the 301 border police zone, Col. Bakht Jamal, said the under-resourced Afghan forces bravely fought and defeated the Pakistanis backed by tanks.
“Our one personnel embraced martyrdom in the ‘seven’ hours clash. We all want to die the same way in the defence of our motherland.”
Afghan officials claimed the Pakistani side used artillery and tanks hitting some areas in the Torkham township.
The building of the border police commissary was hit by at least one rocket and signs of artillery hits were visible in other parts of the township.
Afghan security officials said one Afghan security personnel was killed and five others were wounded during the overnight clash that they claimed lasted seven hours.
In Nangarhar, a government official said one Pakistani paramilitary personnel was killed and a dozen more wounded.
Cross border movement
Following last night clash, the border crossing has been closed against people’s and vehicular movement, leaving stranded traffic and passengers on both sides.
The Nangarhar governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, said the cross border movement had stopped and no one since last night clash had cross the border.
A resident of Lalpura district, Shehzad Khan, told Pajhwok reporter at the border that he wanted to cross into Pakistan, but the route had been closed after last night clash.
A shopkeeper in Torkham, Ajab Gul Momand, said the bazaar was closed as a result of the last night fire exchange and the border had been closed for traffic.
Momand urged Pakistan to stop creating problems at the border and let the people fight their poverty.
Pakistan last month closed the border and reopened it with the condition not to allow Afghans having no visa and passport.
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