Clashes broke out between Afghanistan’s Taliban and Pakistani forces this week on the border between the two nations, in an incident the Taliban claims was ignited by Pakistan building a military post.
The clashes took place on the border at Afghanistan’s Paktia province and Pakistan’s Kurram region earlier this week, reportedly leading to an unclear amount of casualties on both sides.
According to a statement on Wednesday by Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi, “Pakistan forces tried to erect a military post near the line”, after which Afghan authorities attempted to approach and talk to the Pakistani officials. They were apparently fired upon, however. “Both sides exchanged fires, which may have resulted in the loss of lives,” Karimi said.
The spokesman stated that the Afghan government is investigating the matter and revealed that the leadership of both nations were in touch to ensure such an incident is not repeated.
The Pakistani military’s side of the story, however, claimed that “terrorists from inside Afghanistan” opened fire on Pakistani troops stationed in Kurram, resulting in “heavy casualties” for those rebels. The statement added that “Pakistan strongly condemns the use of Afghan soil by terrorists for activities against Pakistan and expects that [the] Afghan government will not allow conduct of such activities in future.”
Aside from those clashes, Islamabad also reportedly asked the Taliban government to locate and arrest Masood Azhar, the chief of the UN-designated terrorist group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), who Pakistan says sought refuge in Afghanistan.
The Taliban denied his presence in the country, though, stressing in a statement its reiteration that “the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan does not allow any armed oppositions in its territory to operate against any other country.” It called on Islamabad and “all parties to refrain from such allegations lacking any proof and documentations. Such media allegations can adversely affect bilateral relations.”