QUETTA, Pakistan ( Associated Press) — Six people were killed in an attack by Afghan forces on a border town on Sunday, according to the Pakistani military, as relations between the neighbors continued to sour.
The violence in Chaman, in southwestern Pakistan, follows a series of incidents and deadly attacks that have escalated tensions with the Afghan Taliban. Chaman is the main border crossing for trade between the two countries.
The Pakistani military’s media wing said the fire injured 17 people and attributed the casualties to “unprovoked and indiscriminate fire” of heavy weapons by Afghan forces on civilians.
In Afghanistan, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar, Ataullah Zaid, linked the conflict between the Pakistani military and the Taliban to the construction of new checkpoints on the Afghan side of the border. He said one Taliban fighter was killed and 10 were wounded. Three civilians have also been injured in this.
Pakistan’s military said troops responded to the Afghan shelling, but its media wing gave no further details. To highlight the seriousness of the border incident, Pakistan has approached the authorities in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
Akhtar Mohammad, a doctor at a public hospital in Chaman, told The Associated Press that 27 people who were injured by the bullets were taken to the hospital for treatment. Of these, six died and seven are in critical condition.
Wali Mohammad, who lives on the Pakistani side of the border, brought his injured cousin to Chaman Hospital. The intense shelling was followed by multiple explosions, he said.
“We were on the road like any other holiday when suddenly there was a huge explosion and the debris hit several people, including one of my cousins,” Mohammed said.
A deadly exchange of fire in November closed the Chaman border for eight days, causing huge trade losses and trapping thousands of people on both sides.