Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Pakistani, Afghan Officials to Discuss Cross-Border Raids

Pakistani and Afghan military officials will meet in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad this week to discuss the contentious issue of cross-border raids by militants, officials said on Monday.

The military officials will investigate recent attacks, discuss coordination between the armed forces of the two sides and find ways to prevent attacks on Afghan villages in future, Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Musazai said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Jaaed Ludin and Pakistan's Ambassador to Kabul, Muhammad Sadiq, had agreed last week to explore ways to stop the attacks and to reduce tensions, Musazai said.

Ludin told the Pakistani envoy that "continuation of shelling against Afghan villages could have a significant impact on bilateral relations", according to an Afghan Foreign Ministry statement.

Pakistani military officials have rejected reports of attacks on Afghanistan from Pakistani soil and said that Pakistani Taliban fighters based in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan had launched several strikes on border check posts and villages.

The Pakistan Army has alleged that during the past year, Pakistani Taliban fighters based in Kunar and Nuristan carried out 15 cross-border attacks that killed over 100 Pakistani security personnel and civilians.

However, the Afghan Taliban have joined the Afghan government and ISAF to criticise Pakistani rocket attacks on Afghan territory, saying these strikes have killed and displaced a large number of people.

"These attacks have no legal justification. These are actions that are contrary to all Islamic and international laws and the principles and rights of good neighbourliness," the Afghan Taliban said in a statement issued on Friday.

They demanded that Pakistan should immediately stop such attacks. In a related development, the International Security Assistance Force has rejected as incorrect a statement from the Pakistani military that it had notified the foreign forces 52 times that militants were crossing the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

"Whenever the Pakistani military has requested assistance, ISAF immediately dispatched the appropriate force to deal with the issue," said an ISAF statement.

ISAF will continue to take every Pakistani military report of cross-border movements seriously and assist whenever possible, the statement said.
Asian Defence News

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