Pakistani and Afghan officials say both sides have suffered casualties in a clash near a remote border crossing along their long and porous shared border.
The July 1 fighting near Angoor Adda, a border crossing straddling Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal region and Afghanistan's southeastern Paktika Province, was the result of disagreement over a border gate.
Abdul Khan, the district governor of Paktika's Shkin region, told Radio Mashaal the clash ensued after Pakistani forces attempted to build a border gate "inside Afghan territory."
Khan said the Afghan border police had orders to prevent such an incursion.
"At least eight Pakistani soldiers were killed while a soldier of our border police was also killed," he said. "The fighting continued for three hours from midnight [on July 1] to 3 a.m."
Khan says the Pakistani security forces had previously established a checkpoint near the clash site and the Afghans were aware of their plans to build a concrete gate. Khan added that Paktika officials had raised the issue with senior officials in Kabul who instructed them to not let the Pakistanis build the gate.
Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the fighting started when Pakistan attempted to build an illegal structure on the border. "Afghan border police intervened and exchanged fire," he said.
However, Pakistan’s military said Pakistani troops returned fire after a rocket and a few rounds of small arms were fired on the Angoor Adda Gate from the Afghan side, wounding two security personnel. "Pakistani troops responded and targeted positions where the fire was coming from," said a July 1 statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations, the press service of Pakistan's military.
The border clash threatens to undermine ongoing efforts by Kabul and Islamabad to improve relations.
Kabul and Islamabad share a border more than 2,500 kilometers long. It is marked by the Durand Line, a 19th-century demarcation established between British-controlled India and the Emir Abdur Rahman Khan of Afghanistan.
Based on reporting by Radio Mashaal, Reuters and dawn.com