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Afghan, Pakistani Diplomats Discuss Border Tensions

Afghan children hold national flags during a protest against Pakistan after a Pakistani Army officer and two Afghan border police were killed during a clash at the border, Herat, June 16.

Pakistani and Afghan diplomats met in Islamabad on June 20 to discuss deadly border clashes last week that killed two Afghan border guards and a Pakistani officer.

Security forces from the two countries exchanged gunfire and artillery barrages near the Torkham border crossing last week after Pakistan started building a fence on its side.

Each side accused the other of starting the violence, which led Pakistan to temporarily close the Torkham crossing.

Afghanistan does not recognize the present boundary, known as the Durand Line, as an international border.

The six-member Afghan delegation that was in Islamabad on June 20 was led by Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister, Hekmat Khalil Karzai.

The delegates met with Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement after the talks that effective border management is vital for promoting peace, fighting terrorism, and strengthening relations between the two countries.

Based on reporting by AP and