Afghan, Pakistani troops clash

Afghan border guards Thursday clashed with their Pakistani counterparts in eastern Afghanistan. No casualties were reported.

    New Afghan army recruits in training

    Tensions on the border have heightened since Pakistan sent troops to the region, deep within the countries tribal area, for the first time in its history.

    “Pakistani forces attacked our forces two days ago and wanted to capture one of our posts on a high strategic point,”  General Mustafa Khan, a border commander in eastern Nangarhar province told France’s AFP.

     “Our forces pushed them back. The fighting was going on for one hour but now the situation is quiet," he added. 

    Gun battles

    This is the latest in a spate of firefights between soldiers from the two countries. Last week, a battle lasting some 12 hours, was reported, though estimates of casualties were not available. 
      
    Pakistani soldiers were sent to the region to stem the flow of suspected Taliban and al Qaeda fighters from Afghanistan across the porous border. 

    The move has sparked unrest as Afghans claim the Pakistanis have set up checkpoints in deep within the war-torn country.

    Afghan Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali Tuesday visited Pakistan to discuss the issue with Pakistani authorities. 

    Rocket attacks

    In a separate incident, unknown assailants fired rockets Saturday at government offices in central Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province. There were no casualties, unidentified local officials told AFP.
     
    The rockets, which are notoriously inaccurate, landed a couple of hundred metres from their intended targets, AFP said, causing little damage.

    Uruzgan, a mountainous province, was home to the spiritual head of the ousted Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar.

    Omar has avoided capture, along with al Qaeda's Osama bin Laden, despite a huge reward offered for their capture.

    Taliban appointment

    Omar approved a new deputy military commander for southern Afghanistan on Saturday and ordered him to intensify guerrilla attacks on US and government forces, a Taliban official said.

    Omar spoke to Mullah Sabir, alias Momin, by radio on
    Saturday after his appointment by a Taliban leadership council and tribal elders, said Mullah Abdul Samad, an intelligence
    officer in the hardline Taliban regime ousted in 2001.

    "He (Omar) directed him to intensify jihad (holy war)
    against the forces of the United States and the Afghan
    government," Samad told Reuters, speaking by satellite phone
    from an undisclosed location.

    Samad said Momin would assist the Taliban military commander for southern Afghanistan, Hafiz Abdur Rahim.

    Samad said Taliban officials and tribal elders met for three
    days in southern Afghanistan to devise a strategy to step up
    attacks on foreign and Afghan forces. He said the meeting
    concluded on Saturday but did not give further details.

    In June, the Taliban announced the formation of a 10-man
    leadership council to organise resistance against foreign
    troops.

    US-backed President Hamid Karzai dismissed the move,
    saying the Taliban had been defeated and could not threaten the central government.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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