Afghanistan orders frontier forces to retaliate to Pakistani shelling

A view of the border fence outside the Kitton outpost on the border with Afghanistan in North Waziristan, Pakistan on October 18, 2017. (File photo by Reuters)
Updated 20 November 2017
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Afghanistan orders frontier forces to retaliate to Pakistani shelling

KABUL/ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan’s government said on Monday that it has ordered its border forces to respond to the wave of shelling on its eastern areas by Pakistan, which Kabul says has displaced over 300 families since last week.
Afghanistan Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Dawlat Waziri said Kabul was also pushing through diplomatic channels, including the UN and the US-led coalition force in Afghanistan, to halt the shelling.
“People’s houses have been destroyed, their livestock killed, and over 300 families have been displaced since Pakistan resumed the shelling, this shameless act, last week. Some people have been hurt and the shelling continues. We have instructed the frontier force to fire on any target that (fires) shells,” Waziri told Arab News.
Pakistan has been repeatedly accused by locals and government officials of firing rockets at targets in Afghanistan over the past several years. This latest wave of attacks has taken place in several districts situated on the disputed border area of the Durand Line in eastern Kunar province.
“People face a lot of difficulties in the extreme winter weather conditions, and the central government has not taken any action so far,” Saleh Mohammed Saleh, an MP from Kunar, told Arab News.
He said the government is consumed by its internal divisions, adding that the focus of President Ashraf Ghani’s administration is on the parliamentary elections slated for next year and the 2019 presidential poll when he is expected to run for office again.
The US-reliant Afghan government has mostly tried to exercise restraint as it lacks the resources for retaliation and fears any tit-for-tat move could result in a humiliating and drawn-out war with its nuclear-armed neighbor with which it has a long-running border dispute.
Afghan forces have clashed with Pakistani troops on numerous occasions along the ill-defined and disputed border region, with both sides suffering losses.
Some Afghans have demanded the cancelation of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) which Ghani signed with Washington when he assumed power in 2014.
The BSA allows US troops an indefinite presence in Afghanistan in return for a guarantee that the coalition will respond to any act of aggression from outside in consultation with the Afghan government. Both the Afghan government and the US and its allies have accused Pakistan of harboring militants who pose a threat to Afghanistan.
Pakistan claims the shelling is aimed at Pakistani insurgents living in Afghan villages.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal told Arab News: “Pakistani troops never initiate fire and only respond when they are fired upon; more than 43 percent of Afghan territory remains ungoverned.
“Terrorist sanctuaries are there (in ungoverned areas of Afghanistan) from where they fired on Pakistani posts. It’s important to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries on Afghan soil.”
Last week, Capt. Junaid Hafeez and Sepoy Raham were killed by terrorists firing from the Afghan side of the border in Bajaur tribal region.
After the attack Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Afghan charge d’affaires and lodged a formal protest over the “use of Afghan soil” by terrorists.
However, Waziri said the reason behind the latest wave of shelling by Pakistan is to avoid pressure from the US and NATO over its continued alleged backing of Afghan insurgents


Bangladesh PM urges Myanmar to take back Rohingya Muslims

Updated 40 min 39 sec ago
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Bangladesh PM urges Myanmar to take back Rohingya Muslims

  • About 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state since last August.
  • Aid agencies and have expressed concern that the Rohingya will not be safe or be able to live freely if they return.

KOLKATA: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for international pressure on Myanmar to take back hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have sought shelter in her country to escape military-led violence.
Hasina says Bangladesh gave shelter to the fleeing Rohingya on humanitarian grounds, but they should return to Myanmar.
“Other countries should put pressure on Myanmar to take them back,” she said in a speech Friday at Visva-Bharti University in India’s West Bengal state.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the speech.
About 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state since last August and are living in squalid camps across the border in Bangladesh. Aid agencies and have expressed concern that the Rohingya will not be safe or be able to live freely if they return.