Protesters killed at Pakistan-Afghanistan border

Shooting At Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Kills Three, Injures 17

Pakistan and Afghanistan on Friday traded allegations over deadly border firing incident that caused casualties on both sides.

Pakistan is now firing at civilians in Kandahar.

Additional troops of the Frontier Corps and Levies were also summoned to quell the protest.

Pakistani shelling has killed 15 Afghan nationals in the Spin Boldak area. The incident unfolded on Thursday when about 150 people gathered on the Pakistani side of the Chaman-Spin Boldak border crossing, many of them hoping to visit loved ones in Afghanistan for Eid, Usman Ali, the commissioner for the Quetta, told AFP.

When it did not open, a large crowd gathered to protest, and a quarantine centre and Pakistani government facility for processing crossings were burned down, the Chaman official said.

"Pakistan is undertaking concerted efforts to ensure regulated movement of trade between the two countries, which are being challenged by elements opposed to such regulation", it noted.

Pakistan's foreign office and military did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment, but Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters that the matter had been taken up with Afghan authorities and hoped it would be resolved amicably.

It said that owing to Eid ul Adha "pedestrians' move [sic] was also allowed". He said on Twitter the security forces targeted innocent civilians at Chaman.

The FO accused Afghan forces of firing on civilians gathered on the Pakistani side of the worldwide border.

Pakistan's foreign ministry said Afghan forces had opened fire on the crowd.

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'Pakistan troops responded to protect our local population and acted only in self-defence.

Locals and officials told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal that a group of people who have been staging a sit-in at the border over the past several weeks attempted to get closer to a border checkpoint and that some of the protesters set fire to a quarantine center for people affected by the coronavirus.

The minister said that Pakistan has always taken care of Afghanistan's imports, but observed that a lot of smuggling takes place at the Chaman border.

The minister said that it was a few rogue elements among those who had stayed behind who incited the others to violence. "We have separate borders with Afghanistan".

Speaking at a news conference, the minister said that then there was reaction from Pakistani side as well.

Reports in Afghan media too said that the Afghan forces acted while the unrest was happening on the Pakistani side on Thursday.

The protester set fire to a vehicle of the security forces injuring several which prompted the security men to open aerial firing.

The government on Friday said that the violent clashes which took place at the Chaman border a day earlier came after "unprovoked fire" by Afghan forces.

The Foreign Office regretted that the avoidable exchange resulted in losses on both sides.

"This unfortunate incident resulted in numerous casualties and deliberate/serious damage to state infrastructure on the Pakistan side", it said. The border crossing was reopened on Wednesday to allow people from both sides to travel to their native areas to celebrate Eid. "All this could have been avoided if fire had not been initiated from the Afghan side", the statement observed. The military clash stopped once the Afghan side stopped firing.

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