After losing seven soldiers, Pak airstrikes kill 8 in Afghanistan : The Tribune India

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After losing seven soldiers, Pak airstrikes kill 8 in Afghanistan

After losing seven soldiers, Pak airstrikes kill 8 in Afghanistan

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (L) and chief of army staff Asim Munir at the funeral of an officer. Reuters

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 18

The so-called Durand Line turned hot on Monday as the Taliban retaliated with heavy weapons against Pakistani airstrikes on its territory.

Cross-border clashes were also reported at Parachinar in Afghanistan on the border while the Taliban defence ministry said it had targeted Pakistani troops at the border in response to the airstrikes. “The Islamic Emirate, which has a long history of freedom struggle against superpowers, does not allow anyone to invade its territory. The people of Pakistan and the new government should stop some of their Generals from continuing wrong policies,” said Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid.

Pakistan’s fighter jets had carried out a predawn strike in two bordering Afghan provinces with terrorists belonging to the Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group being the prime targets, said the Pakistan foreign office. It blamed the group along with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for several terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, resulting in “deaths of hundreds of civilians and law enforcement officials”.

Afghanistan’s Taliban, on the other hand, claimed the airstrikes on its territory killed five women and three children in Khost and Paktika districts. It also said the main target of the strikes, Abdullah Shah, was in fact living in Pakistan though he did have a house in Afghanistan because his tribe was spread on both sides of the Durand Line.

The immediate trigger for the Pakistani airstrikes was an attack on a Pakistan army post in Mir Ali in North Waziristan that killed seven, including two officers. The Pakistan army also conducted ground operations in its territory, killing eight militants, including a “high value target”. Taliban denied the Pakistani claim that the attacks were launched from Afghan soil. “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan does not allow anyone to compromise security by using Afghan territory. Pakistan shouldn’t blame Afghanistan for the lack of control, incompetence and problems in its own territory,” said Mujahid.

“Such incidents can have very bad consequences, which will not be in Pakistan’s control,” he warned while alleging that “houses of common people were targeted” in the airstrikes. “We have made our utmost effort and continue to do so. But one thing we must accept is that Afghanistan shares a very long border area with Pakistan, and there are places with rugged terrain, including mountains and forests, and places that might be out of our control,” he said, as quoted by the Afghan media house Tolo News. Pakistan’s Special Representative to Afghanistan Ambassador Asif Durrani estimates that 5,000 to 6,000 TTP militants are sheltering in Afghanistan.

Prez attends funeral prayers of officers

On Sunday, President Asif Ali Zardari attended the funeral prayers of the two slain Pakistani army officers and said, “Pakistan has decided that whoever will enter our borders, homes or country and commit terror, we will respond to them strongly, regardless of who it is or from which country.”

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