Jalalabad (Afghanistan), July 12 (Reuters): Afghan and Pakistani troops exchanged fire on their border today and an Afghan commander said encroaching Pakistani forces had been driven back.
Clashes between Afghan and Pakistani forces have been erupting intermittently for several weeks with Pakistan denying Afghan accusations that Pakistani forces had intruded into Afghan territory.
“There was an exchange of heavy fire for 45 minutes, both sides used artillery,” said the commander of Afghan border forces, Haji Abdul Zahir Qadir.
He said the clash took place in Yaqoobi Kandaw village of Lalapur district and his men forced Pakistani troops to pull out of an area they seized about three weeks ago.
He said Pakistani forces still occupied some Afghan territory to the east of the city of Jalalabad and his men were ready to recapture the area should President Hamid Karzai give the order.
A Pakistani intelligence official in the border town of Peshawar confirmed that there had been an exchange but he said the two sides used AK-47 rifles.
Both Qadir and the Pakistani official said there had been no casualties in the exchange.
Rising tension on the border coincided with an operation by US-led forces in eastern Afghanistan, and by Pakistani troops on their side of the border, aimed at stopping ousted Taliban and their al Qaida allies from crossing back and forth.
On Tuesday, anger with Pakistan over the alleged border intrusions erupted in the Afghan capital when a mob forced its way into the Pakistani embassy.
President Karzai condemned the attack and apologised to Pakistan’s President Pervez Mush arraf. No one was hurt in the attack but windows and office equipment were smashed, vehicles were damaged and property looted.
Pakistan accused Afghan security forces of not trying to stop the demonstrators forcing their way into the mission. Afghan authorities said on Saturday three young men, all of them medical students, had been picked up in connection with the embassy raid. Police said they were looking for others involvedin the violence, including the ringleaders.