Afghan firing at Chaman border
Waqar Ahmed
5/8/2017

 


In yet another tragic episode on the Durand Line, the international border that separates Pakistan from Afghanistan, the Afghan forces -- without provocation -- started shelling at the Chaman border on Friday.
This time, their main target was the civilians living in villages on the Pakistani side.

In yet another tragic episode on the Durand Line, the international border that separates Pakistan from Afghanistan, the Afghan forces -- without provocation -- started shelling at the Chaman border on Friday.
This time, their main target was the civilians living in villages on the Pakistani side.
The unfortunate episode led to the death of at least 12 innocent people and injured more than 40, including women and children. The director general of Balochistan's provincial disaster management authority (PDMA), Muhammad Tariq, told the media that the unprovoked firing by the Afghan border forces had affected some 2,000 families. The deputy commissioner of Chaman said the families had been asked to evacuate their homes and lands in view of the tension. Reports say that mud-walled houses of the poor people in Killi Luqman and Killi Jehangir had been severely damaged when the Afghan forces brutally attacked the civilian population. The dead included Frontier Corps personnel, five children and three women. The incident occurred in the backdrop of major military setbacks suffered by the Afghan forces at the hands of Taliban. The top US commander in Afghanistan had admitted some time back that "Afghanistan has not achieved an enduring level of security and stability that justifies a reduction of our support in 2016." General Campbell in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee said that building up the Afghan military was "akin to building an airplane while in flight". This indictment came in the face of massive corruption in government circles, lack of decision making and coordination among different governing factions, fractured stance on issues, infighting among various groups in the Afghan government and what not.The deadly development at Chaman comes at the heels of new US strategy/ war plans for Afghanistan, which may be based on sending thousands of more troops to the divided country. Reports have stated the number of troops required could be around 3,000-5,000 comprising mostly training staff so as to raise the capabilities of the Afghan forces.According to a US watchdog, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR): "Casualties suffered by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in the fight against the Taliban and other insurgents continue to be shockingly high." It said that in the first two months of 2017, 807 personnel of Afghan security forces had been killed and 1,328 injured. SIGAR also revealed that “at least 6,785 Afghan soldiers and police had been killed in the first 10 months of 2016. Civilian casualties last year totaled 3,498 killed and 7,920 wounded, making it the deadliest year on record for civilians.” This is a testimony to Hamid Karzai’s failed policies, adopted by his successor Ashraf Ghani. Unfortunately, the firing at Chaman took place after several senior Pakistani military and civilian officials had recently visited Afghanistan, taking the message of peace and harmony. The Pakistani officials made their visits despite former TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan’s revelations in the local media about the deadly nexus between RAW and NDS against Pakistan. Totally unprovoked, malicious and senseless attack on Pakistani villagers is tantamount to drowning the goodwill and sincerity shown by Pakistani officials in the blood of innocent civilians.