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Updated March 10th, 2024 at 23:34 IST

Afghan Taliban bleeds Pakistan as border clashes rock Kurram province

Violent clashes between Taliban forces and Pakistani border troops in Afghanistan's Kurram province result in casualties and injuries.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
Afghan Taliban
Afghan Taliban | Image:AP
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Lahore: In a tumultuous turn of events, clashes erupted on Saturday between the Taliban administration and Pakistani border forces in Afghanistan's Kurram province, as reported by Afghan media. The armed confrontation unfolded in the afternoon within the Sirkanay district, situated near the Durand Line, the contentious border separating Afghanistan and Pakistan, involving troops from both nations. 

While initial reports suggest the cessation of hostilities, authorities have yet to provide a comprehensive statement regarding the scale and aftermath of the conflict. Such skirmishes sporadically arise between Pakistan and factions aligned with the Taliban administration, often stemming from longstanding border disputes and territorial claims. 

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Casualties and Injuries 

An internal document obtained by Republic, signed by the Medical Superintendent of the District HQ Hospital, reveals the grim toll of the clash. Sixteen soldiers from the Pakistan Army have been reported as killed in action, with an additional three soldiers and three civilians listed as wounded, underscoring the intensity and severity of the confrontation.

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This recent clash echoes tensions that flared in September 2023 at the Pakistan-Afghanistan Torkham Border, leading to a week-long closure of the vital crossing point. The border skirmish between the Taliban and Pakistani army resulted in a logistical nightmare, with stranded trucks carrying perishable goods, including fruits and vegetables, witnessing gradual spoilage on both sides of the border. 

The closure, triggered by a fatal gunfight claiming the lives of four Pakistani soldiers, drew sharp criticism from the Taliban, denouncing Islamabad's response and accusing Pakistan of exacerbating the situation. Islamabad, in turn, pointed fingers at the Taliban, alleging the construction of unauthorized border posts within Pakistani territory, further fueling the dispute over territorial integrity. 

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Calls for resolution and protests 

Amidst the escalating crisis, voices of protest and calls for diplomatic resolution have emerged from both Afghan and Pakistani communities. Protesters on either side urge their respective governments to swiftly address political differences and facilitate the reopening of the crucial border crossing. 

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Simultaneously, the commerce industry, deeply impacted by the border closure, is actively engaged in efforts to find a negotiated settlement to the protracted standoff. Meanwhile, in Nangarhar, Afghanistan, protests have erupted over the continued closure of the Torkham crossing, with demonstrators decrying Pakistan's recurrent border shutdowns, particularly during peak seasons for agricultural trade, exacerbating economic hardships for traders and communities on both sides. 

As tensions simmer and calls for diplomatic intervention amplify, the border clashes between Taliban-affiliated groups and Pakistani forces underscore the volatile nature of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region and the pressing need for sustained dialogue and conflict resolution mechanisms. 

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Published March 10th, 2024 at 23:34 IST

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