Border Tensions Escalate: Afghanistan and Pakistan Clash Over Alleged Strikes and Retaliatory Attacks

Allegations fly as Afghanistan’s Taliban accuses Pakistan of launching air strikes on its soil, resulting in the tragic loss of five women and three children. In response, the Taliban retaliates with heavy artillery aimed at Pakistani forces along the border.

The ongoing blame game intensifies between the two neighbors amidst a surge in Islamist militant attacks within Pakistan. While Pakistan points fingers at Afghanistan for harboring militants responsible for these assaults, the Taliban vehemently denies any involvement.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan does not tolerate any compromise on security through the exploitation of Afghan territory,” declares Zabiullah Mujahid, spokesperson for the Taliban administration. Mujahid reports casualties in the eastern border provinces of Khost and Paktika.

Pakistan’s foreign office counters with claims of “intelligence-based anti-terrorist operations in the border regions inside Afghanistan,” targeting members of the Hafiz Gulf Bahadur militant group allegedly responsible for a recent attack on a Pakistani military post.

In a tit-for-tat exchange, the Taliban defense ministry asserts its forces have engaged Pakistani troops along the border in response to the air strikes. Additionally, the Taliban lodges a diplomatic protest, summoning Pakistan’s head of mission to condemn the alleged attacks.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani military, via state television, accuses Afghanistan of providing “full support and assistance” to a recent wave of terrorism, without explicitly mentioning the air strikes. Pakistani officials reiterate their concerns over the rise in attacks, frequently attributed to the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) operating from Afghan soil.

“Pakistan’s repeated concerns regarding the presence of terror outfits have been conveyed to the interim Afghan government over the past two years,” states Pakistan’s foreign office.

The most recent attack occurred when a vehicle carrying explosives and suicide bombers targeted a military post near the Afghan border, claiming the lives of seven Pakistani security personnel.

Amidst the escalating tensions, the Afghan Taliban denies any complicity in allowing its territory to be used by militant groups. Mujahid emphasizes Pakistan’s responsibility for its internal security challenges, cautioning against the potential fallout from such incidents.

As accusations and counter-accusations abound, the volatile situation underscores the precarious relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan, with implications beyond their borders.

Reported by Mohammad Yunus Yawar in Kabul and Charlotte Greenfield in Islamabad; Edited by YP Rajesh, Clarence Fernandez, Miral Fahmy, and Mark Heinrich”

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