Several dead in clashes at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border

(Islamabad) Clashes erupted between Pakistani border guards and scores of people trying to travel to Afghanistan to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, killing several people, officials said on Friday. responsible.

France Media Agency

Kabul and Islamabad deliver different versions, each of these capitals accusing the other of being responsible for the incident that took place Thursday on the Pakistani side of the Chaman-Spin Boldak border post in the west of the country .

Afghan officials accused Pakistan of firing shells and gunfire at crowds of civilians, killing 15 people . Islamabad claimed that the Afghan forces opened fire first.

About 150 people had flocked to the border post on Thursday, most hoping to visit relatives in Afghanistan to celebrate the Muslim festival of sacrifice Eid al-Adha , said Usman Ali, the commissioner of the border region of Quetta.

The usually busy border post, mostly closed for months to stem the spread of the coronavirus, momentarily reopened Thursday morning.

Mr. Ali said the crowd got angry when the border post closed again in the afternoon.

“The Border Corps troops deployed at the border fired in the air. It did not kill anybody, but later the demonstrators started throwing stones at the soldiers, ”Ali continued.

The commissioner said the border guards did not open fire but responded by throwing stones back, killing five protesters.

On the Afghan side, a spokesperson for the governor of Kandahar province – border region – explained to AFP that 15 people were killed and 80 others injured “as a result of sporadic shelling and gunfire by Pakistani border forces”.

The incident claimed the life of a police officer, the rest of the victims being civilians, he continued.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Fawad Aman said on Facebook that “Pakistani forces' attacks on Afghan soil Thursday” killed nine civilians and injured 50 others.

However, the Pakistani foreign ministry accused the Afghan troops, adding that they “opened fire without provocation on innocent civilians … [et sur] Pakistani troops”.

Pakistani forces “acted only in self-defense”, according to a statement.

Tensions are high between neighboring countries, Kabul repeatedly criticizing the support given by Islamabad to the Taliban – accusations that Pakistan has denied.