Pakistan Protests Cross-border Attack

Posted June 25th, 2012 at 11:45 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistan has lodged a formal protest against Afghanistan after a cross-border attack that the Pakistani military says killed 13 soldiers.

Authorities say more than 100 militants from Afghanistan attacked Pakistani forces in the northwestern Upper Dir region late Sunday. Six troops and 14 of the attackers were killed in the ensuing clash.

Pakistan's military says seven soldiers went missing and were later beheaded. Four others have not been found. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The army said Monday it strongly protested the attack with counterparts across the border for “not taking action miscreants present in safe havens in Afghanistan.”

Pakistan's foreign ministry also issued a statement saying the Afghan deputy head of mission was summoned to the ministry and a strong protest was lodged on the “intrusion of militants from the Afghan side into Pakistani territory.” And Pakistan's newly elected prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, said he would take up the issue with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

But Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman, Zahir Azimi, told VOA the allegation that militants from Afghanistan crossed the border to Pakistan and killed six Pakistani soldiers is “false and baseless”.

Pakistan has protested similar attacks to Afghanistan. Afghan and U.S. officials, meanwhile, accuse Pakistan-based militants of carrying out attacks in neighboring Afghanistan and have repeatedly urged Pakistani leaders to crack down on militant safe havens in the country's northwest.

Pakistan's military said Monday that the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, will travel to Pakistan on Wednesday for talks on border coordination with Pakistani army chief General Pervez Ashfaq Kayani. Allen's visit comes days after he accused the Pakistan-based militant Haqqani network of Friday's deadly attack on a hotel outside the Afghan capital.

Pakistan shut down NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, after NATO airstrikes mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani troops near the border last November. Talks between the United States and Pakistan to reopen the supply lines have stalled.