Pakistan dismisses Karzai’s claim on rockets shelling


Pakistan army Monday rejected Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s statement that Pakistani forces have fired missiles into Afghan territory which has killed and injured scores of people.
A statement from the Afghan presidential palace said on Sunday that Pakistani forces fired 470 rockets into Afghan border regions over the past several hours. The statement said that 36 people, including 12 children have been killed in Pakistani firing.
Pakistan military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas has said that claims by the Afghan authorities are incorrect and there had been attacks from Afghan territory in recent weeks.
“This is not true. No rounds have been fired into Afghanistan. In the last one month, there have been five major attacks from Afghan side of the border where 250-300 terrorists crossed over and assaulted our border posts,” the army spokesman said in a text message in reply to media.
He said militants from Afghan side entered Pakistan’s Dir district in the northwest and Mohammad and Bajaur tribal regions, resulting in 55 paramilitary and local militia force killed and 80 injured.
“The fleeing militants were engaged by the security forces and few accidental rounds going across cannot be ruled out,” the army spokesman said.
Afghan officials say that Pakistani rockets landed in eastern Kunar and Nangrahar provinces.
Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul had summoned the Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan Muhammad Sadiq last week to protest the matter formally.
Afghan media has reported that Afghanistan’s National Security Council (NSC) has directed officials concerned to urgently take up the issue of cross border attacks with Pakistani officials.
The NSC gathered in the Presidential Palace on Sunday for a meeting chaired by President Hamid Karzai.
President Karzai told the meeting he had discussed the issue with his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, on the sidelines of an international conference on counter-terrorism in Tehran, a statement from the Afghan Presidential palace said.
He said he had asked Zardari to stop the attacks, but that the Pakistani leader had insisted that the attacks had not been carried out by Pakistani forces. Karzai said Zardari had assured him he would launch an inquiry into the incidents.