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Afghan, Pakistani Troops Clash At Disputed Border

Afghan border policemen take positions on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan in Goshta district of Nangarhar Province last month.
KABUL -- An Afghan border guard has reportedly been killed and three others injured during a six-hour clash with Pakistani troops along a disputed border line between the two countries.

Afghan officials in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar told RFE/RL on May 2 that Afghan forces destroyed a border gate and checkpoint recently installed by Pakistan near the Durand Line, a border drawn by the British in the 19th century.

Pakistani officials said three of their soldiers were injured in the fighting, which ended early on May 2.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sidiq Sidiqi told RFE/RL that the Afghan authorities had dispatched additional police border guards to Nangarhar Province, but that the situation was now calm.

"No clashes are taking place there right now," Sidiqi said.

"There are efforts to resolve the border-related issues through trilateral discussions [involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, and NATO-led forces]. Currently, the situation is normal."

Sidiqi told the Associated Press that Pakistani forces fired artillery rounds at border guards in Nangarhar's Goshta district. But a Pakistani military official said his country's border troops had come under fire from the Afghan side.

Afghan National Army chief Afzal Aman traveled to Islamabad last month to discuss the controversial installation with Pakistani officials.

Aman has told RFE/RL that Islamabad had promised to remove the border gate and checkpoint.

Border Dispute

Kabul had repeatedly demanded that Islamabad remove the installations, saying they were on Afghan territory.

Last month, Afghanistan's Defense Ministry said Kabul would consider "all options" to take them out.

The ministry's statement came after Afghan President Hamid Karzai had instructed his top security officials to take "immediate action" regarding the removal of the installations.

Afghanistan has said that any changes on either side of the Durand Line must be approved by both countries.

Pakistan views the Durand Line as an international border. But Afghanistan has consistently refused to recognize the Durand Line.

With reporting by Reuters
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