Pakistan accuses Taliban of attacking border town
Taliban forces killed six people in an attack on the town of Chaman on Sunday, the Associated Press has reported, citing the Pakistani army. Chaman, which sits on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, is the latest flashpoint in an escalating standoff between the two states.
The Pakistani army stated that “unprovoked and indiscriminate” fire by Afghan militants left six people dead and 17 wounded, while a doctor in a state-run hospital in the border town told the AP that 27 injured people were brought to the facility for treatment.
Pakistan’s military said that it responded to the shelling, but did not provide further information. In Afghanistan, a spokesman for Kandahar Governor Ataullah Zaid said that the Pakistani response had killed one Taliban fighter and wounded 10 others, as well as injuring three civilians.
Chaman sits on a main road between the Pakistani city of Quetta and Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city. A vital trade link between the two countries, the Chaman border crossing was shut for more than a week last month after the fatal shooting of a Pakistani guard.
Although an American ally, Pakistan provided military and financial aid to the Taliban before and during the US invasion of Afghanistan. That relationship has since soured, and Pakistani nationals working on fencing up the country’s border with Afghanistan have come under attack by Taliban fighters in recent months, with Pakistan launching airstrikes in response.
Pakistani officials blamed the Taliban for an attack on Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul last month, with Islamabad also accusing the militant group of sheltering terrorists who carry out deadly attacks on Pakistani soil. The Taliban has in turn accused Pakistan of allowing the US to use its airspace to launch drone attacks on Afghan territory.