September 21, 2012

Afghanistan Warns Pak to Halt Incessant Cross-Border Shelling

Afghanistan Sun (ANI) | Friday 21st September, 2012 | Afghanistan has called on Pakistan to halt cross-border shelling, and has warned the UN Security Council that the attacks could jeopardise already tense relations between the two countries.

The Dawn quoted Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul as saying attacks from Pakistan into his country were "a matter of deep and serious concern" and had caused "unprecedented anger and frustration among Afghans."

Afghanistan has accused Pakistan of staging repeated shelling barrages across the poorly policed border into Kunar province.

"We reiterate our call for an immediate and complete end to these acts, which have taken the lives of dozen of Afghans, mainly civilians, while leaving many wounded," Rassoul said, adding that the Afghan government was in contact with Pakistan to end the attacks "holistically and resolutely".

Rassoul said Afghanistan wants "close and fruitful relations" with Pakistan, which has frequently been accused of backing Taliban militants seeking to overthrow President Hamid Karzai's government.

Pakistan in turn says groups of Pakistani Taliban sheltering in Afghanistan have infiltrated the border to resume attacks on its security forces.

The UN Special Representative in Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, meanwhile said that "reports of uprisings against the Taliban in various parts of the country are a new development requiring greater analysis". He added, however, that the causes of the new violence are "complex".

Kubis told reporters that most of the "uprisings" were in the south of Afghanistan and could be a protest against Taliban policies against, for example, schools.

A U.S.-led international force of some 110,000 troops are in Afghanistan helping the Karzai government fight Taliban insurgents. The force is due to withdraw by the end of 2014.

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