Afghan, Pak soldiers clash at Khyber Pass border

TORKHAM: Pakistani and Afghan soldiers clashed overnight at the main  border crossing at the end of the Khyber Pass, officials said on Monday, with at least one killed and several wounded, further straining relations between the neighbors.

One Afghan soldier was killed and six were wounded, an Afghan official said. The Pakistani army said one of its soldiers was wounded in the fighting at the Torkham Gate crossing in the mountainous region of northwestern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan.

Both countries blamed each other for starting the fighting, which broke out at roughly 9 p.m. local time on Sunday and continued into the night.

“We currently have agreed on a ceasefire with Pakistan. We hope this problem will end through the work by diplomatic addresses,” the Afghan government’s chief executive, Abdullah, said on Twitter.

“The current fight Pakistan started doesn’t help anyone’s interest.”

“In order to check movement of terrorists through Torkham, Pakistan is constructing a gate on its own side of the border as a necessity to check unwanted and illegal movement,” Pakistan’s army said in a statement.

“Pakistani security forces responded to Afghan firing effectively.”

Ayub Hussain khil, border police commander in eastern Afghanistan, said the fighting at the Torkham Gate stopped at t 5 a.m. on Monday.

“We have received reinforcement and are ready to defend our country until the last drop of blood in our bodies,” he said.

Last month, Pakistan builds a border post between Pakistan’s South Waziristan and Afghanistan’s Paktika province and handed it over to Afghan officials.

Hours later, Afghan authorities shut the post, saying that the actual border lay about a kilo meter inside Pakistani territory. – AFP