Pakistan, Afghanistan start joint survey after border clash

"We are not pleased to tell you that five Afghan check posts were completely destroyed - more than 50 of their soldiers were killed and above 100 were wounded", Major-General Nadim Ahmad, head of the paramilitary Frontier Corps, told reporters.

Afghan security forces fired without provocation on Pakistani census workers and soldiers escorting them near the Afghan border, killing one civilian and wounding 18 others, Pakistan's army said Friday.

At least nine people were killed and dozens injured when Afghan border forces fired at a Pakistani census team in Balochistan on Friday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson on Monday hoped that both Pakistan and Afghanistan would properly address the border issue and jointly uphold peace and stability. The line runs through the traditional homeland of the Pashtun ethnic group, which dominates Afghanistan and the border provinces of Pakistan. Afghan forces should focus on checking the militant elements on its soil rather than challenging the capability and professionalism of Pakistan's forces as in that scenario they will not find the space to hide.

Since the census was launched in March, government census teams have also come under attack from Taliban fighters. This is where the conflict reportedly erupted on Friday when Pakistani security forces wished to conduct its ongoing census exercise.

Zakhilwal criticised media reports on the incident, saying, "The Chaman clash left casualties, deaths and injured on Pakistan side too but we, instead of celebrating, called it unfortunate and regrettable".

In yet another tragic episode on the Durand Line, the worldwide border that separates Pakistan from Afghanistan, the Afghan forces - without provocation - started shelling at the Chaman border on Friday.

They blamed Pakistani census enumerators, who were accompanied by soldiers, for straying across the border, a charge Islamabad denied.

Afghanistan does not officially recognize the whole Durand Line as an global border with Pakistan.

To a question on the closure of the border crossing point Bab-e-Dosti, Gen Riaz said it will remain shut unless the situation improves in the area.

The two nations are divided by a porous border drawn by the British and disputed by Afghanistan. "If clashes between the two countries continue, extremists on both sides of the border will only get stronger and pose an even greater threat to the region", said Pakistani journalist Shahid Shamim.

  • Tracy Klein