The death toll from Pakistan’s military air raids on targets in the eastern Afghanistan provinces of Khost and Kunar on Saturday has risen to at least 47, officials said.
“Forty-one civilians, mainly women and children, were killed and 22 others were wounded in air strikes by Pakistani forces near the Durand Line in Khost province,” Shabir Ahmad Osmani, director of information and culture in Khost, told AFP on Sunday.
Two other officials confirmed the death toll in Khost, while an Afghan official said on Saturday that six people were killed in Kunar province.
Afghanistan’s largest news channel, TOLO News, showed images of children’s bodies it said were killed in the air attack.
The same channel showed protests by hundreds of residents in Khost condemning Pakistan and shouting anti-Pakistan slogans.
The Pakistani military has not commented on the attacks, but on Sunday the foreign ministry in Islamabad urged the Taliban authorities in Kabul to take “stern actions” against armed fighters launching attacks against Pakistan from Afghan soil.
“Terrorists are using Afghan soil with impunity to carry out activities inside Pakistan,” the statement, which was unusually harsh in its language, said.
Border tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan have risen since the Taliban seized power last year, with Islamabad claiming armed groups are carrying out regular attacks from Afghan soil.
Since the Taliban takeover, Islamabad has led the way in pressing the world to engage with the religiously driven Afghan government.
It is not clear, however, whether Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will be as supportive of the Afghan Taliban as was his predecessor, Imran Khan, a cricket star turned conservative Islamist leader, who was removed from power last weekend in a politically tumultuous no-confidence vote.
The Taliban deny harbouring Pakistani armed fighters, but are also infuriated by a fence Islamabad is erecting along the two countries’ 2,700km (1,680-mile) shared border.