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Clashes Along Afghan-Pakistan Border Leave Several Dead


Khost's Zazi Maidan district

Afghan border police and members of Pakistan's paramilitary Frontier Corps have clashed near the two countries' disputed border, leaving several dead and wounded on both sides.

Afghan security officials told RFE/RL that two Afghan police officers and six Pakistani paramilitary troops were killed in clashes on April 15 in the Zazi Maidan district of the eastern Afghan province of Khost.

Pakistani officials told Reuters that two Pakistani soldiers were killed.

Abdul Hanan, the acting provincial police chief in Khost, told RFE/RL that clashes broke out in three locations along the border in the early hours of April 15 after Pakistani paramilitary troops ignored repeated warnings from locals and Afghan border police officers and crossed the border.

"First they targeted locals who were trying to stop them from entering our soil, and then they fired mortars on our border police," Hanan said.

Hanan's claims could not be independently verified.

A statement by Pakistan's military said the Afghan side fired on the Frontier Corps fighters while they were carrying out "routine surveillance" along the border. The statement said two paramilitary troops were injured.

Afghanistan routinely accuses the Pakistani Army of attacking civilians and security checkpoints on the disputed border, accusations Pakistan routinely denies.

Pakistan claims it is subject to attacks by Pakistani Taliban militants that Islamabad says are based on the Afghan side of the border.

The two countries share a 2,500-kilometer border known as the Durand Line, which Pakistan considers to be an international border. Afghanistan rejects the colonial-era border that was created in 1893.

Last year, Pakistan said it began building a fence along the border to improve security, a move that sparked condemnations in Kabul.

Pakistani forces have continued to build border fortifications, sparking numerous clashes along the border.

The fencing has threatened to disrupt the daily lives of people living in communities that straddle the border. In some villages, mosques and houses reportedly have one door in Pakistan and another in Afghanistan.

With reporting by Reuters and dpa
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