As tensions between the Taliban and Pakistan escalate, border forces on both sides of the border in the Dandaptan district of Paktia province have clashed.
Khaleqiar Ahmadzai, the head of Taliban intelligence and culture in Paktia, told RFE / RL that the clash took place last night (Saturday, April 17) in the Shapuli area of Dandaptan district.
He said the clashes erupted after Pakistani troops opened fire on Taliban forces. Ahmadzai added that the Taliban were not harmed in the exchange of fire and that there were no reports of possible casualties among Pakistani troops.
Residents say the clash lasted for several hours. Pakistani sources have not yet commented on the matter.
Tensions between Pakistan and the Taliban, which are said to be closely linked, have escalated following recent attacks by Pakistani troops on Afghan soil.
Pakistani troops targeted airstrikes and artillery in Afghanistan’s Khost and Kunar provinces early Saturday morning.
At least 30 civilians, including women and children, have been reported killed in Pakistani airstrikes on four villages in Khost’s Spira district alone. Independent sources have not yet confirmed this statistic.
A local source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told RFE / RL that at least 20 people were killed or injured in the attacks. The attacks are said to have targeted Waziristan displaced areas.
In Kunar province, local sources say that six people, including a woman and five children, were killed in Pakistani artillery attacks in the Shaltan district of the province. Some locals say the attacks were also carried out by planes.
The Taliban-led government has called Pakistan’s attacks “cruel” and strongly condemned them.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid warned Pakistan in a warning tweet not to repeat “such a mistake.”
“[The Taliban government] is calling on Pakistan not to test the Afghans’ patience in such matters and not to repeat such mistakes again, otherwise (and if not) it will have bad consequences,” he wrote.
The Mujahideen has stressed that all issues must be resolved politically.
The Taliban Foreign Ministry also condemned the attacks and summoned the Pakistani ambassador to Kabul. Some political figures, including former President Hamid Karzai, have also condemned the attacks.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed concern over reports of civilian casualties, including women and children, in Pakistani military attacks in the border areas of Khost and Kunar provinces.
UNAMA tweeted this evening (Saturday, June 27) that civilians are never the target.
The UNHCR has said it is working to establish the facts and confirm the death toll.