The Afghan Border Forces remain on alert in Narai district in the eastern province of Kunar following an exchange of mortar and rocket fire with Pakistan late last month.
The Narai district is located along the Durand Line – a de facto border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The de facto border runs almost 2,400 kilometers between the two neighboring countries.
Do Kalam village in Narai district, which is close to the Chitral district of Pakistan, was hit by Pakistani artillery fire in the latest clash.
According to local officials, two women were killed and five others were wounded--including children--in the blasts.
Some unconfirmed reports indicate that a counter-attack by Afghan forces caused casualties among Pakistani troops.
General Abdul Sabir Haidari, commander of the First Regiment of Border Forces East, visited Narai district on Sunday, Nov. 2, and said his forces have been stationed in strategic areas and are on alert.
“We agreed to a ceasefire on the seventh (of Aqrab – Oct. 29) and no clash has happened since, but the Border Forces are on high alert and have very high morale. You can see that they (Pakistani forces) have stopped work on the installations they were trying to build,” he said.
Border forces said the skirmishes started when Pakistani troops tried to build a military installation in international border areas, which, according to the Afghan side, is a provocation.
“The Pakistanis wanted to build a checkpoint in Tor Kamar area, which is an international border,” Haidari explained. “First, we wanted to solve the issue through negotiations and wanted to tell them (the Pakistani military) that people are sensitive about this area… But they continued their work and they opened fire on our forces at a time when we were not able to communicate with them and so the clash started.”
“And then, reported Abdul Nasir, a tribal elder from Kunar, “Our brave forces gave a tit-for-tat response to them (Pakistani forces) and we are grateful.”
Local residents said this is not the first time Pakistani forces have violated the line and engaged with the Afghan military. Locals say they are ready to defend the country and stand alongside Afghan forces.
“Pakistanis and Punjabis came and wanted to build a checkpoint. We are standing with the (Afghan) government and we are ready to help them,” said Kafyatullah, a tribal elder.
“This is not the first time. There have been clashes three or four times, and the people have cooperated with our brave forces,” said Ghawsuddin, a tribal elder from Kunar.
Pakistan’s incursions across the line date back several years, and despite promises from the Pakistani government, eastern Afghanistan continues to take fire from the Pakistan side.