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Pakistani soldier killed in border clash with Afghan Taliban

Source : Asian News International (ANI)

Pakistani soldier killed in border clash with Afghan Taliban
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Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: A Pakistani soldier was killed and 11 others, including seven personnel and four civilians, were injured in a clash between security forces and Afghan Taliban in Kurram tribal district on Saturday and Sunday night, Dawn reported.

The clash erupted over the construction of a road in Pakistani territory by the Afghan Taliban. The land was owned by the residents of Khurlachi and Borki, which fall on the other side of the border fence, near Afghanistan's Paktia province.

Haji Nauroz Ali, a resident of Borki, told Dawn that the lands where the Afghan Taliban attempted to construct the road belonged to the local people, who had allotment and revenue records of these properties.

He alleged that claim of the Afghan Taliban was illegal and there was a clear demarcation of the border. "Successive Afghan governments had never laid claim over these lands before fencing," he said. A source said talks between the two sides remained inconclusive as tensions prevailed. Some families have moved from Khurlachi and Borki to Parachinar, according to Dawn.

Local people said they had abandoned their properties since the Pakistan government erected a fence. Under the multi-billion rupees border management plan, the army launched fencing along the Durand Line in 2017 in an attempt to regulate cross-border movement between the two countries, and control smuggling and movement of militants.

Amid this tension, senior civil and military officials from Pakistan and Afghanistan held a flag meeting at zero-line on Monday to defuse the tension.

While addressing the presser in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Parachinar, Kurram Deputy Commissioner Wasil Khan Khattak said that their efforts were underway to resolve the issue through peaceful means.

Pakistan media reports said the Pakistan-Afghan border in Baluchistan, remains closed as both sides failed to arrive at a consensus on reopening the crossing, as per Dawn.

The Pak-Afghan border at Chaman was closed for an indefinite period after an armed man opened fire from the Afghan side, killing a Pakistani soldier, last week.

The incident left two security personnel injured and prompted the closure of the border between the two countries at Chaman, Baluchistan, Dawn reported quoting official sources

Earlier, the Dawn reported that in the flag meeting at Friendship Gate, the two sides discussed the need for a "joint mechanism" to put an end to incidents of violence at the border. The idea of joint interrogations has also been proposed to probe Sunday's incident, the report said.

"A joint mechanism would be evolved to stop such incidents in the future and both countries would cooperate in a probe in case of any future incident at the border," a senior border security official told Dawn.

Following the incident last week, the trade between the two countries, including the Afghan transit trade, was suspended.

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