Amid provocative statements by the Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat, there are reports of clashes on Pakistan's northern border with Afghanistan.
Afghan authorities on Monday (Oct 28) said at least three women were killed and four injured in alleged cross-border shelling by Pakistani troops. In a statement, the provincial administration in Kunar said Pakistani forces began "unprovoked shelling" from across the border on Sunday that continued on Monday.
This prompted Afghan forces to defend the land and people in the mountainous villages, the statement said. "Three women were killed in the shelling, and an old man, a woman, and two children were wounded," provincial governor Abdul Ghani Samim was quoted as saying by local Tolo News.
Six Pakistani solders injured
On Tuesday (Oct 29) a statement by Pakistan military's media wing said six soldiers and five civilians were injured during an exchange of fire at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border between security forces of both sides. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Afghan security forces fired mortars and heavy machine guns from Nari district in the Kunar province "targeting civilian population" in Chitral's Arundu village.
"Pakistan troops responded effectively and targeted Afghan border posts Kandi and Dilbar from where fire was being initiated," said the statement. As a result, "substantial damage" was dealt to the Afghan border posts. The exchange of fire was stopped "after engagement at military level".
In September, four soldiers of the Army were killed and one other was injured in two separate incidents of firing by militants near the Afghan border. Following the attacks, the Foreign Office had summoned the Afghan Charge d' Affairs to lodge a formal protest against the firing incidents.
Pakistan has already fenced an over 900-kilometre-long portion of the Afghan border in an attempt to prevent movement of miscreants and terrorists between the two countries.
Pakistan says Indian Army Chief is provoking war through irresponsible statements
Border clash along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border came amid provoking statements by Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat who said on Friday according to the Press Trust of India: "The territory (PoK) occupied by Pakistan is not controlled by the Pakistan establishment but it is controlled by terrorists. PoK is actually a terrorist-controlled part of Pakistan."
General Rawat also claimed that Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) have been under illegal occupation of Pakistan. He also said that attempts were being made by Pakistani terrorists to disrupt resumption of normalcy in Kashmir after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 to withdraw special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Reacting to Rawat's remarks, Pakistan military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor, in a statement, said the Indian Army chief was repeatedly issuing irresponsible statements to fortify his candidacy for the newly proposed post of the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS).
"Indian COAS repeatedly provoking war through irresponsible statements endangering regional peace for electioneering of political masters," Ghafoor said, adding that he was hoping to become Indian CDS "at the cost of professional military ethos".
"From fake surgical strike to-date his only success has been to turn Indian Army into a rogue force and getting them killed," Ghafoor tweeted.
Meanwhile in another tweet on Saturday, Ghafoor said the Pakistan Army had killed more than 60 Indian soldiers on the Line of Control in skirmishes since February 27 when the two countries came close to war.
"Since 27 Feb 19 Pak Army has killed over 60 Indian soldiers on LOC besides injuring many and destroying their bunkers. Artillery gun positions also damaged forced to relocate. 2 IAF Jets shot down by PAF, 2 helis met fratricide under fear. Indian Navy under deterrence," Ghafoor said.
Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner from the country after India revoked the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.