ISLAMABAD — Afghan and Pakistani troops continue to face off along part of their mutual border after an exchange of fire early Wednesday reportedly caused casualties on both sides.
Analysts believe the fighting could undermine what had until recently been a warming bilateral relationship, but at the same time there are considerable pressures on both sides to stop any escalation.
The media arm of Pakistan’s military, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), released a statement Wednesday stating “An RPG-7 rocket and a few rounds of small arms were fired on Angoor Adda gate from the Afghan side due to which 2 Pakistani security personnel were injured. Pakistani troops responded and targeted positions from where fire was coming.”
Official Afghan sources state there was one fatality on the Afghan side, sparked by construction work being undertaken by the Pakistanis. Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul was later summoned by the Afghan government over the incident.
However, Claude Rakisits, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, does not believe the situation will escalate, primarily because it is not in the interest of neither country to do so.
He highlights a number of factors on the Afghan side that would encourage Kabul to try and reduce tensions because “even though [Afghan] President Ghani recently went very public about his frustration with Pakistan’s failure to stop the recent Taliban attacks in Afghanistan, he also knows that he has little choice but to work with Pakistan,” he said.