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The Killid Group

Pakistan attacks push Afghans away

Written by Saeed Zabuli and Sabir Momand
Saturday, 09 July 2011 09:41

Pakistan attacks push Afghans away The government has only weakly protested the unprovoked firing by the Pakistani army along Afghanistan's eastern border which has emptied out villages.  
There have been at least 700 rocket attacks since last 18 May on Afghan's east and southeast border by the Pakistan army which has resulted in the killing and injury of some 100 civilians.
Sultan Sediqi, secretary of the Kunar Provincial Assembly, said the bombs were fired by the Pakistan army. Hundreds of civilians have fled their homes, he added. "Besides financial loss and human cost, 667 families have left Shegal district. The residents of Shungrai, Sahdikhail, Sekandari and Subagi villages of Sarkanu district have abandoned their villages," he said.
Sediqi warned that if the government and coalition forces fail to take action, local people would take matters into their own hands and seek revenge, a threat echoed by another internally displaced man, Rafiullah of Sarkanu village.
Mohammad Saleem of Shegal district has lost family members. "It was evening," he recalls. "I was praying and other members of my family were lying in bed when a rocket hit our house, killing my two daughters, while a niece and my brother's wife were injured."
Saleem has relocated with his family in nearby Shaltan valley.
His neighbour Taib says his daughter and her friend were killed in shelling when they were returning from school. Muhammad Ayub, a teacher who is from Chugam village, says that as a result of the continuing bomb attacks, village schools have shut down.

Unrecognised Durand line
On July 1, some 500 tribal elders representing most districts in Nangrahar province organised a meeting in the Hall of Tribal Affairs directorate in Jalalabad city, attended by a Killid reporter.
Malik Awal Dad, tribal elder of the Momand tribe, alleged the Pakistani army has advanced 60kms into Afghanistan after the Bonn agreement in December 2001. "I don't accept the Durand Line. Pakistan has established army posts in Gushta, Nangrahar," he told.
The Durand Line, approximately 2,640 kilometers (1,610 miles) long, was established in 1893 between the government of colonial British India and Afghan Amir Abdur Rahman Khan. It is named after Henry Mortimer Durand, the Foreign Secretary of British India at the time. The single-page agreement contains seven short articles. A demarcation survey took place starting from 1894, covering some 800 miles of the border. The resulting Durand Line established the "Great Game" buffer zone between British and Russian interests in the region and cuts through the Pashtun tribal area. Although shown on most maps as the western international border of Pakistan, it is unrecognized by Afghanistan.
Dad appealed to the three largest tribes of Nangrahar - Khugyani, Shenwari and Moman - to protect their borders like their ancestors did as the Kabul government was indifferent to their plight. "The government supplicates to Pakistan," he charged.
Colonel Zabit, a Khugyani elder, accused the international troops in Afghanistan of disarming Afghans and turning their neighbours against them. Similarly, Malik Ghulam Sheikh, a Shenwari elder, urged the government to stand up for Afghanistan.
Nangrahar spokesman, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, said the provincial governor, Gul Agha Sherzai, has sent a letter of protest to the Pakistani consulate there. On July 4 in Islamabad, the Afghan ambassador lodged a protest against the unwarranted rocket attacks on Afghan territory.
According to Colonel Muhammad Noman Hatifi, head of public relations of the 201 Silab Corps, the Pakistan army fired 56 cannon shells within 24 hours on June 29, in the wake of similar rocket attacks on Dangam, Shegal, Asmar and Khas Kunar districts of Kunar province which claimed the lives of 22 persons and wounded 78 others.
Kunar governor, Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi, said 1,600 families have been displaced from Dangam, Sakanu, Shegal and Narai districts by the firing. "They have not been helped yet; they live with their relatives," he said.

Emptying border areas
Afghan border police commander of the eastern provinces, General Aminullah Amarkhail, who has resigned but the Ministry of Interior Affairs has not accepted it, says the border attacks started on May 18 and still continues. "As per my information, among people killed, 12 were children and 28 women," he said.
Pakistan has refused to take the blame for the shelling along the eastern border. "When we talked with Pakistani side at Turkham (border post), they considered it the act of insurgents," he said.
Amarkhail claims there is other evidence like "an unexploded 34 kg warhead". "Insurgents do not have such type of weapons," he said.
It is not clear why Pakistan has launched the current round of attacks. Retired army brigadier, Muhammad Sarwar, thinks it may be an attempt by the Pakistan army to bolster morale in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden by the US military. Others say that maybe Pakistan is trying to stop the construction of dams on the Kunar river.
General Amarkhail thinks the Pakistan army is seeking to empty border areas in Afghanistan to make way for hideouts for Taliban and other groups. In disgust at Kabul's silence, the general had forwarded his immediate resignation.
On July 4, the Ministry of Defence broke its silence. Spokesman Zahir Azimi, said: "Hundreds of rockets have been fired at the eastern provinces of Afghanistan from Pakistani soil during the last three weeks. But Afghanistan has fired back (only) after diplomatic efforts did not yield any result."
However, Azimi did not say how many attacks were made on Pakistan, and in which areas. According to unconfirmed reports here, rockets were fired at North Waziristan, and there were civilian casualties.

Comments (1)

  • Wednesday, 26 September 2012 02:41 | sahar
    its a hard fact that Afghanistan is harbouring hundreds of dreaded terrorists of TTP in these very border areas where allegedly Pakistan has been firing rockets. These TTP terrorist have been attacking the posts of Pakistan security forces and dozen of soldiers were beheaded and heads were taken to Kunar. This is happenning under the nose of Afghan security forces. Why they are silent for the gruesome act of TTP terrorists. Media must highlight the true picture of the situation so that world does not get faltered.

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