- Skirmish leaves one FC soldier injured.
- Dispute arose over construction of bunker on Afghan side on hilltop near border.
- Afghan side fires mortar shells which landed at offices of FIA and Customs.
LANDIKOTAL: The Torkham border between Pakistan and Afghanistan was closed on Wednesday following a clash between the security forces of the two countries, which left a Frontier Corps soldier injured. The News reported.
This dispute arose over the construction of a bunker by the interim Afghanistan government on the Afghan side, specifically on a hilltop near the border.
Pakistani authorities had requested the Afghan side to halt the construction, citing it as a violation of international law, an official performing duty at the Torkham border told The News on the condition of anonymity.
However, the Afghan authorities did not heed this request. Consequently, the border was closed due to the escalating tensions stemming from this construction dispute.
“Both Pakistani and Afghan officials held talks but failed to resolve the issue and all of a sudden, Afghan troops started shelling Pakistan’s side of the border,” said the official.
He added that several mortar shells were fired from the Afghan side, which landed at the offices of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Customs and other official workplaces.
The official added that a mortar shell also hit a mosque on the Pakistani side of the border while another landed in Bacha Mena border village. However, these did not cause any casualties.
He added gunfire started at 2pm and continued for around three hours resulting in FC soldier Maqsood, sustaining bullet injuries and was taken to a hospital.
In the midst of this border dispute, a significant number of individuals found themselves stranded on both sides of the border. Among them were travellers, patients, women, and children, as well as trucks, some of which were loaded with goods.
The situation led to the closure of hundreds of government and private offices as a precautionary safety measure.
Residents of the border village of Bacha Mena started moving from Torkham to safer places and urged the authorities to resolve the matter through talks.
“Afghan forces tried to establish a check post in an area where it is agreed… that both sides will not establish a check post,” said Pakistan local administration official Irshad Mohmand while talking to AFP
A local Pakistan police official, who was not authorised to speak to the media, said: “The atmosphere is tense” and “forces on both sides are alert.”