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ASIA > Border attack strains Afghan-Pakistan ties

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Pakistani Foreign Minister Khar (L) talks to Afghan President Karzai before the
heads of state meeting on Afghanistan at the NATO Summit in Chicago. AFP photo

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khar (L) talks to Afghan President Karzai before the heads of state meeting on Afghanistan at the NATO Summit in Chicago. AFP photo

Pakistan protested to NATO and the Afghan military on June 25, accusing them of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan after a cross-border attack killed 13 Pakistani troops, a military official said.

The border skirmish is a new sign of tensions between the uneasy neighbors. Pakistan has complained that militants use parts of Afghanistan for sanctuary to stage attacks inside Pakistan. That claim helps Islamabad counter frequent U.S. and NATO complaints that militants behind much of the violence in Afghanistan come from Pakistan.

In June 24’s raid, more than 100 militants based in Afghanistan’s Kunar province entered Pakistan and attacked a military patrol, the military official said. Fourteen militants and six soldiers were killed in the clash, seven soldiers were beheaded by militants afterwards and four soldiers are still missing, the official said. Reflecting the particularly gruesome nature of the attack, newly elected Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said he would complain directly to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. “We have strongly protested and I will, too, God willing, talk about this to Karzai,” said Ashraf, speaking in Karachi.

NATO commmander to visit Pakistan

The Foreign Ministry said the Afghan deputy head of mission in Islamabad was summoned and presented with a “strong protest.” The Malakand faction of the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility and threatened more attacks.

Meanwhile, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, U.S. General John Allen, is likely to visit Pakistan today to review border coordination measures with Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, Pakistan’s military said in a statement. Islamabad and Washington are locked in difficult talks to repair badly frayed ties, at their lowest point in years after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November last year. Pakistan blocked overland supply routes to NATO forces in Afghanistan to protest against the strike.

Compiled from Reuters and AP stories by the Daily News staff.

June/27/2012

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