Kandahar, [Afghanistan], August 06 (ANI): Thousands of Pashtuns in Kandahar and Helmand provinces of Afghanistan held protests against Pakistan for killing innocent civilians at Chaman-Spin Boldak border last week.
Strong voices were raised against Pakistani forces and pro-Pakistan elements of the Taliban whom they referred to as "Punjabi Taliban".
Afghanistan accused Pakistani forces of firing heavy artillery into civilian areas after protests by communities on both sides who were demanding the reopening of a nearby border crossing that Pakistan had closed to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The Afghans were visiting their relatives on the Pakistani side during Eid al-Adha.
In areas like Chaman, the border has historically been porous, with the international boundary running through the middle of many villages.
Mohammad Aref Noorzai, an Afghan lawmaker from Kandahar province, said the clashes began when Pakistani forces opened fire at Afghan protesters on the border.
"A peaceful protest was taking place at the border then Pakistani forces opened fire at them," he said. "The first bullet was fired by Pakistanis."
Noorzai said Afghan police reciprocated, firing at Pakistan forces' positions when they saw Afghan civilians were harmed. "Pakistanis targeted civilians and Afghan forces alike," he said.
The protesters were mainly merchants exporting fresh fruits and vegetables to Pakistan, he said, adding that tensions were rising in part because traders feared long wait times would spoil their goods.
Sources reveal that clashes between Afghan and Pakistani forces are ongoing on various locations along the Durand Line.
Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been tense for years as Kabul accuses Pakistan of harbouring terrorists who carry out attacks in Afghanistan. (ANI)