At least 16 Pakistani civilians were injured in a second clash within a week between Pakistani and Afghan border guards, according to Pakistani medical sources. A state of emergency was declared in the main hospital in the Pakistani city of Chaman on Thursday after artillery fire began near the Chaman and Spin Boldak border crossings at around noon. “Four civilians are in critical condition and have been sent to Quetta for further treatment,” he said, adding that among the injured he included two children. “No bodies have ever been taken to the hospital.”
A Pakistani military official claimed that “indiscriminate shooting” had been fired at civilian areas of Chaman from the Afghan side of the border. Authorities in Chaman told Al Jazeera that markets near the border were closed and a tense silence fell in the city. The Afghan Ministry of Defense claimed that Pakistani forces opened fire first. In a Twitter statement, the ministry said the Kabul government believed dialogue was the way forward. On Sunday, at least nine of his Pakistani citizens were killed in a skirmish between the two countries near the same border crossing between Balochistan province in southwestern Pakistan and Kandahar province in southeastern Afghanistan.
The Pakistan Army accused Afghan authorities of firing “indiscriminately without reason”.
The border was closed for a week last month when a Pakistani security guard was shot dead by an unidentified gunman. Relations between the two neighbors have been strained since the Afghan Taliban occupied Afghanistan last August. Pakistan accused Afghanistan of harboring the armed group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an offshoot of the Afghan Taliban.