Pak concerned over cross-border shelling by Afgan

Pakistan conveyed its "deep concern" to Afghan over an incident of cross-border shelling by Afghan forces that killed four civilians, including two children.

Islamabad: Pakistan Monday conveyed its "deep concern" to Afghanistan over an incident of cross-border shelling by Afghan forces that killed four civilians, including two children.

Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani conveyed the Pakistan government`s deep concern to the Afghan Ambassador over the "unprovoked border shelling by the Afghan forces last evening" that killed four civilians, said a statement issued by the Foreign Office.

Jilani condemned the attacks and said they are "unhelpful and unproductive, and would only vitiate the conducive environment that Pakistan is trying to create for promotion of peace and stability in the region".

He "strongly urged the Afghan government to take appropriate measures to prevent recurrence of similar incidents", the statement said.

Pakistani military officials told the media that Afghan National Army troops fired mortar rounds that killed four civilians, including two children, in Niz Narai area along the border yesterday evening.

The Afghan troops fired three mortar rounds that a civilian vehicle.

The civilians died on the Pakistani side, the military officials said.

Pakistan has lodged a strong protest with the Afghan government over the "killing of innocent civilians", they said.

The border row coincided with the arrival in Pakistan of Afghan High Peace Council chief Salahuddin Rabbani, who has been invited by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for talks on the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan Rabbani is scheduled to call on the President and the Prime Minister and meet the Pakistani military leadership.

The two countries are making efforts to overcome deep suspicions and find common ground on the troubled peace process in war-torn Afghanistan.

In recent months, Pakistan has accused Afghan and foreign forces of doing little to curb the activities of Pakistani Taliban fighters based in the Afghan province of Kunar.

The militants, led by Mullah Fazlullah from Pakistan`s Swat Valley, have been blamed for a string of cross-border attacks.

The Afghan military, on the other hand, has accused Pakistani forces of arbitrarily shelling border villages and causing civilian casualties. The charge has been denied by the Pakistani military.


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