Afghan army scraps Pakistan trip over cross-border shelling

KABUL Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:30pm IST

A Pashtun man passes a road sign while pulling supplies towards the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing in Chaman November 28, 2011.REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed/Files

A Pashtun man passes a road sign while pulling supplies towards the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing in Chaman November 28, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Naseer Ahmed/Files

Related Topics

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan has cancelled a military trip to Pakistan due to "unacceptable Pakistani shelling" of the country's mountainous eastern borderlands, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

More than two dozen Pakistani artillery shells were fired into Afghanistan's eastern province of Kunar on March 25 and 26. The cancellation of the trip and days of angry diplomatic exchanges have placed further strain on an already fraught relationship.

Eleven Afghan National Army (ANA) officers had been due to take part in a simulated military exercise at the Staff College in the western city of Quetta, gripped by recent sectarian violence directed at Shi'ite Muslims.

"This visit will no longer take place due to the resumption of unacceptable Pakistani artillery shelling against different parts of Kunar province from across the Durand Line on Monday and Tuesday," the ministry statement said.

The Durand Line is the 1893 British-mandated border between the two countries, recognised by Pakistan but not by Afghanistan.

Pakistani support for the Afghan peace process is considered essential because of the two countries' long, porous border and Pakistan's history of supporting militant groups.

The neighbours have engaged in days of of angry accusations, including a Pakistani official denouncing Afghan president Hamid Karzai as an obstacle to peace and saying he was taking his country "straight to hell".

The Afghan government responded by saying "such comments from irresponsible individuals are part of a failed propaganda attempt to undermine the ongoing historic process of transition".

Pakistan has accused Afghanistan of giving safe haven to militants on the Afghan side of the border, particularly in Kunar province, leaving Pakistan vulnerable to counter-attack when it chases them out of its own ethnic Pashtun tribal areas.

Afghanistan sent additional troops and long-range artillery to the border with Pakistan in September last year as tensions rose over a spate of cross-border shelling which killed dozens of Afghan civilians.

(Reporting By Dylan Welch and Katharine Houreld; Editing by Ron Popeski)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

General Debate

Reuters Showcase

Jaitley in Hospital

Jaitley in Hospital

Finance minister back in hospital for check-up.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

More Ukrainian soldiers killed, Poroshenko defends peace plan.  Full Article 

Alibaba IPO

Alibaba IPO

Alibaba IPO ranks as world's biggest after additional shares sold.  Full Article 

Soccer Roundup

Soccer Roundup

Lampard haunts Chelsea, Real and Barca on goal spree.  Full Article 

Terror Threat

Terror Threat

Australia seeks broad new security powers after anti-terror raids.  Full Article 

Nadal Out

Nadal Out

Injury-plagued Nadal pulls out of new league.  Full Article 

Climate March

Climate March

New York climate march draws hundreds of thousands.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage