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PR Short Notes


Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 463, 12 December 2022

‘Unprovoked’ shelling by Afghan border forces at Chaman, kills seven



What happened at Chaman?

Bhoomika Sesharaj

On 11 December, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that at least seven people lost their lives and 16 others sustained injuries at Chaman which saw sizeable gunfire and heavy artillery shelling by the Afghan border forces after the attack preceded.  The ISPR said that Pakistani forces retaliated against the “unprovoked and indiscriminate” and said that the attack was “uncalled” for and that the Pakistani troops had challenged the opposing forces with a “befitting” but “measured” response. Officials said the exchange of fire between the two troops happened when some individuals from the Afghan side attempted to cut open a fence near the border village of Lala Mohammad. Further, the ISPR mentioned that the Pakistani forces had led their response to highlight the “severity” of the situation and that they demanded strict action to prevent any further repeat of such incidents. 

The Foreign Office objected to the shelling and said that these “unfortunate” incidents are not in line with the “brotherly” ties that exist between the two countries and that Afghanistan and Pakistan remained in contact to assure a de-escalation of the situation. The incident led to the closing of the Friendship Gate at the Chaman Border crossing but was reopened for traffic and pedestrians at a later stage. 

Reactions to the attack, incident deemed ‘accidental’ by Afghani troops

The incident drew a slew of reactions from around the region, with Dr Rasheed Tareen, a medical superintendent at the Chaman district hospital said that the hospital had received six bodies that suffered splinters of mortars and artillery shells with seven people in critical condition. The doctor said that the hospital is sending the critically wounded to Quetta and added that an emergency has been declared in the Chaman and Quetta hospitals. 

Balochistan’s Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo expressed his worries over the incident and hoped that the federal government would assure an “immediate and effective” solution to this issue at the diplomatic front and directed the district administration of Chaman to lend full support to those who are affected by the attack. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah objected to the attack and said that “details” were being gathered to investigate the issue. PTI’s leader Fawad Chaudhry condemned the attack and mentioned that the PTI had focussed its attention on the “deterioration” of Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan for “several months” and said that the incident proved to be “evidence” of the party’s claims. 

Afghan official Noor Ahmad described the incident as an “accidental” one and said that the situation had cooled down and was “normal” after the two sides convened in a meeting. Ahmad did not comment on the casualties that the attack. This attack comes after the Taliban’s return to power, with Pakistan seeing a nearly 50 per cent rise in attacks against its forces, including the recent incident involving the TTP and the escalation of tensions between the two countries. (Saleem Shahid, “‘Unprovoked’ shelling by Afghan forces kills seven at Chaman,” Dawn, 12 December 2022, Syed Ali Shah, “Chaman rocket fire escalates tensions,” The Express Tribune, 11 December 2022)

 

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