Islamabad [Pakistan]: Amid the continuing tension along the Durand Line between the Pakistani troops and the Talibani forces, Pakistan on Saturday claimed that three of its soldiers were killed in the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after a cross-border attack from Afghanistan.
In a statement, Pakistan Army said that these soldiers were killed in the country’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.
Tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan have escalated after the recent airstrikes by the Pakistan military in the Khost and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan killed a number of civilians.
According to the local officials, the death toll from the airstrikes in eastern Afghanistan early Saturday morning rose to at least 45 people and left several others injured, reported The New York Times.
While sporadic cross-border shelling has killed Afghan civilians for years, the casualties due to the strikes mark a significant exacerbation in violence and the use of military force by Pakistani authorities as the strikes drew immediate criticism from Taliban officials, who said that Pakistani military aircraft carried out the airstrikes.
Notably, since the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan last year, the country’s eastern border with Pakistan has been a source of increasing tension between the two countries as Pakistani officials have claimed frequent attacks in Pakistan by militants harboured on Afghan soil. However, Taliban officials have refuted such reports of sheltering militants.
The porous border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan has been a stronghold for the Pakistani Taliban, a banned terrorist group in Pakistan, for decades. The group has carried out various terrorist attacks in Pakistan and the officials in the country have claimed that the members of the group found shelter in neighbouring Afghanistan.
However, the former Western-backed governments in Afghanistan have accused Pakistan of nurturing the Afghan Taliban insurgency and sheltering its leaders.
After the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August last year, the Pakistani authorities worked with the Afghan Taliban to broker a monthlong ceasefire with the Pakistani Taliban, according to Pakistani officials.
However, the ceasefire was not renewed and after it expired, the Pakistani Taliban again stepped up attacks on Pakistan’s soil.