Pakistan Intensifies Shelling On Afghan Villages

News - Afghanistan


Pakistan's military has fired nearly 700 artillery shells on two Afghan districts in the bordering Kunar province since Saturday, a rapid increase ahead of the June 14 runoff poll.

Afghan officials have counted 693 artillery shells landed in Dangam and Shegal districts of Kunar, said the provincial police chief, Gen Habib Sayedkhili. More than 130 families have fled their homes in the two districts.

"The shelling has been started from Saturday and it is continuing. Several people have been killed and wounded and many houses are destroyed," Gen Sayedkhili added.

Previously, local villagers in both districts had warned the central government that they would react to the shelling if it was not addressed immediately.

"We cannot tolerate Pakistan's shelling anymore," said Hakim Khan, a villager in Dangam. "If our problem is addressed, the people together will react," he added.

"We are under Pakistani shelling for four years. Many lives have been lost. We are asking the government and the international community to address our problems," said Kunar Provincial Council member, Nasrullah Safi.

Some senators have criticized the government's silence over the issue and argue that the Afghan government has not yet retaliated properly.

"I call on the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Directorate of Security to file a complaint to the UN," Kunar Senator Ali Baba said. "We cannot remain silent if diplomatic channels are unfruitful."

Moreover, Chairman of the Senate Fazel Hadi Muslimyar said that the government must take action against the Pakistani violation because the issue will leave damaging consequences on the bilateral relations between Kabul and Islamabad.

"The border regions of Kunar province have been under Pakistani mortar and rocket shelling several times," Muslimyar said. "It is not clear whether the government does not have the capability to respond to the issue or it does not want to respond the same way as Pakistan."

The Pakistani military has been targeting some regions in eastern provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan for about three years. The issue has led to more tensions in Afghanistan and Pakistan's already rocky relationship.

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