6 dead,17 hurt in Afghan forces wanton firing in Chaman

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Pakistani troops gave befitting albeit measured response

At least six people were killed and 17 others sustained injuries on Sunday when Afghan Border Forces opened “unprovoked and indiscriminate fire” on civilian population in Balochistan’s Chaman district, the army’s media wing said.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), heavy weapons including artillery and mortars were used in the firing by Afghan forces.

“Pakistani border troops have given befitting albeit measured response against the uncalled for aggression but avoided targeting innocent civilians in the area,” the statement said.

It added that Pakistani authorities have approached their counterparts in Kabul to highlight the “severity” of the situation, demanding “strict action to obviate any such recurrence of the incident in future.”

District Police Officer (DPO) Chaman Abdullah Ali Kasi told media that the firing began after a mortar shell was fired into Pakistani territory.

The DPO said all the injured were moved to DHQ Hospital Chaman except four, who were deemed “critically” injured and transferred to Quetta.

An emergency was imposed in Quetta Civil Hospital on the directions of Health Secretary Saleh Muhammad Nasir.

Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo expressed concern over the incident. “I hope the federal government will ensure an immediate and effective solution to this problem at the diplomatic level.”

He ordered the district administration of Chaman to provide full support to the people affected. Last month, the Pak-Afghan border at Chaman was closed for an indefinite period after an armed man from the Afghan side opened fire on Pakistani security personnel at Friendship Gate, resulting in the martyrdom of one soldier and leaving two others wounded.

Official sources had said that Pakistani and Afghan forces exchanged fire for more than an hour following the incident, with reports that five personnel from the Afghan side were killed and 14 others were injured in the gun battle.

The closure of the border soon after the incident had caused the suspension of trade, including the Afghan transit trade, between the two countries.