* ISPR says squad under the martyred officer was supervising fencing work in an area in Mohmand which carried a critical infiltration route
* IED was planted by terrorists from across border
An officer of Pakistan Army and a sepoy embraced martyrdom on Friday as an improvised explosive device (IED) planted by terrorists on Pakistan-Afghan border went off during the process of erecting fence.
According to a tweet by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor, Major Adeel Shahid and Sepoy Faraz Hussain embraced martyrdom on Pakistan-Afghan border in district Mohmand.
Squad under the martyred officer was supervising fencing work in an area which carried a critical infiltration route. The martyred personnel fell victim to an IED planted by terrorists from across the border.
Maj Adeel belonged to Karachi while Sepoy Faraz hailed from Kotli district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The incident comes less than a week after four army soldiers were martyred and one other was injured in two separate incidents of firing by terrorists near the Afghan border. The first of those incidents had occurred in North Waziristan tribal district, where miscreants had opened fire on a routine patrolling party of security forces near the Abba Khel area of Spinwam tehsil, claiming the life of Sepoy Akhtar Hussain. Two miscreants were also killed in the subsequent exchange of fire. The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for the ambush.
In the second incident in Dir, suspected terrorists had opened fire from across the Pak-Afghan border on Pakistani troops who were busy in border fencing. Three soldiers were martyred.
Following the attacks, the Foreign Office had summoned the Afghan Charge d’ Affaires to lodge a formal protest against the firing incidents.
Pakistan has already fenced an over 900-kilometre-long portion of the Afghan border in an attempt to prevent movement of miscreants and terrorists between the two countries.
Pakistani forces have also conducted a series of operations against militant groups in the tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the years. While officials say the area has largely been pacified, small attacks continue to take place.
Meanwhile, terming a recent statement of the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs as irresponsible and unwarranted, Foreign Office Spokesman Friday said Pakistan-Afghanistan border is an internationally recognised official border between the two countries in accordance with all relevant international laws and conventions. “Pakistan believes that 24/7 opening of the Torkham point along Pakistan-Afghanistan border is a significant step forward to facilitate the people and traders of both sides,” the Foreign Office statement said.
The Afghan foreign ministry’s statement, issued on Friday in response to the opening of the 24-hour Torkham crossing by Pakistan earlier in the week, had emphasised that Kabul does not recognise the Durand Line as an official border between the two countries.
The FO termed Kabul’s renewed refusal to recognise the international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan as ‘irresponsible and unwarranted’. “Such statements only serve to undermine the resolve for peace and cooperation between the two countries and should be avoided,” the FO regretted. “In order to further help patients and facilitate trade between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Torkham crossing will operate round the clock,” it said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had formally inaugurated the border crossing on Wednesday. “I consider this to be a very historic day,” he had said on the occasion, noting that trade with Afghanistan had jumped by 50 per cent alone in the period the border opening had been trialed for a 24/7 opening.