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Afghan, Pakistani forces clash on border, 3 civilians killed


AP Kabul
Afghan and Pakistani forces engaged in cross-border clashes for a second day, hours after Pakistani mortar and rocket fire into Afghanistan killed three women in eastern Kunar province, Afghan officials have said.
The fighting first broke out on Sunday afternoon when Afghan forces and local militiamen tried to stop Pakistani forces from allegedly establishing a military installation along the disputed border, said Abdul Ghani Musamem, spokesperson for the governor of Kunar.
He said the shooting lasted over three hours and also wounded four civilians in the remote Nari district, which lies along the border. He said communication with the area was difficult because of the isolated location.
Pakistani forces were again firing mortars down on villages inside Afghanistan after fighting resumed Monday morning, said Gen. Mohammad Ayub Hussainkhail, an Afghan commander for forces on the eastern border.
"Dozens of local people have displaced from the area," he said, adding that reinforcements had arrived in the Do Kalam area of Nari district.
There was no immediate comment from Pakistan.
The two countries often trade accusations that each side is firing across the border, which runs for 2,400 kilometers (1,490 miles), much of it through mountainous terrain.
The Taliban and other militant groups operate on both sides of the porous line.
Pakistani troops are currently building border fences in response to ongoing complaints by Afghanistan over cross-border movement, particularly by militants. But Kabul remains deeply suspicious of Pakistan's motives. Islamabad had backed the

Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and until recently seemed unable or unwilling to go after militant leaders taking refuge inside its borders.
Afghanistan also disputes the exact path of the border, known as the Durand Line, which was drawn by the British in 1893 to mark the edge of their colonial possessions.

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First Published: Oct 29 2019 | 1:35 AM IST

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