A Pakistani border security soldier standing guard at the Torkham border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, February 9, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (6:40 PM) – At least eight militants from Afghanistan and two Pakistani border guards have been killed during a shootout along the border in Bajaur, according to the Pakistani military.

“Terrorists from Afghanistan side attempted attack on Pakistani posts”, the military said, adding “Captain Junaid Hafeez and Sepoy Raham embraced shahdat (martyrdom) while four soldiers sustained injuries.”

Elsewhere in the statement, the Pakistani armed forces laid blame on the Afghan government for its failure to secure its side of the border probably, allowing militants to increase their activity in the area.

Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have long accused one another of harbouring and supporting terrorist movements, with both sides denying the other’s allegations. Both sides also accuse the other of not doing enough to fight cross-border raids by militant armed groups.

Last year, Pakistan started building a barrier at the main border crossing in the northwestern town of Torkham. The move irked the government in Kabul, which accused Pakistan of encroaching on its territory. Pakistan has dismissed Kabul’s criticism of the border fortifications, stating that it takes place well within Pakistani territory.
The Afghan government however does not recognise the demarcation of the border as Islamabad sees it, which is the so-called Durand Line from 1896.

Dozens of people have been killed over the past months, in a series of cross-border clashes between Pakistani and Afghan forces, as well as several militant groups that plague the area.

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