Heavy clashes broke out early Monday morning between Afghan and Pakistani security forces in eastern Paktia province, local security officials confirmed.
The clashes started in Dand-e-Patan district of the province and both sides are using heavy weapons, officials said.
“The clashes started after the Afghan and foreign troops tried to close a Taliban transit route close to the Durand Line but the Pakistani forces started shelling the Afghan security forces,” local security officials said.
Security officials told TOLOnews that the route across the Durand Line was being used by Taliban insurgents and that a joint military operation between Afghan army and commandos, accompanied by US forces, were carrying out an operation to safeguard the route and establish check posts when they came under fire from Pakistani soldiers.
The officials said the Afghan security forces responded.
Dand-e-Ptan district is close to Zazi Maidan district of eastern Khost province – both of which border Parachinar district in Kurram Agency in Pakistan. Zazi Maidan on Sunday came under fire by Pakistani troops.
Clashes broke out when the Pakistani troops reportedly tried to take control of an Afghan check post. Local residents responded until security forces arrived in the area. Three Pakistani soldiers and two Afghan civilians were killed in the skirmish.
The 203rd Thunder Corps commander, General Shaur Gul, said on Sunday that the skirmish started when Pakistani soldiers started shooting at a check post close to Jandighar area in Zazi Maidan district.
“At eight o’clock Pakistani military started attacking our local people and security forces fired back, killing three Pakistani soldiers. Three others were arrested, and our two Afghan civilians were killed, and two others were wounded,” Gul said.
The Jandighar check post is located on top of a hill. Officials have said the Pakistani military has tried on numerous occasions to capture the check post. However, on Sunday when they again tried to take control, local residents retaliated.
Video footage received by TOLOnews shows a Pakistani army officer named Brigadier Akhtar ask an Afghan army officer to handover at least three Pakistani nationals. However, in the video, the Pakistani officer did not specify whether these nationals were dead or alive.
This comes after Ghani Samim, Kunar governor’s spokesman, said last week that in only a few days nearly 1,500 missiles had been fired on Kunar province from Pakistan.
Samim said after a break of two days, shelling started up again last Monday night. Almost 400 missiles landed in Kunar province overnight, he said.
In February last year, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) warned that Pakistan’s missile attacks on the eastern regions of the country would have serious consequences, suggesting that a diplomatic solution to the issue between the two neighbors was needed.
However, Pakistani officials in the past have claimed that they targeted only terrorist groups by firing off the missiles but residents said the missiles hit their houses and the surrounding forests.