Afghan forces fire on census workers, killing 9

Pakistan's military said Afghan border police had been "creating hurdles" since April 30 for the census team in the Chaman area.

"We are not happy over the human and other losses suffered by the Afghan forces as they are our Muslim brothers".

But Sediq Siddiqi, a senior spokesman for the Kabul government, said Sunday he "totally rejected" the Pakistani claim of 50 Afghan dead.

"We are not pleased to announce this but the Afghan commanders are responsible for this", he told reporters in reference to Chaman border's deadly incident.

Lawmaker Obaidullah Barakzai, while voicing support for the Afghan security forces, said the Wolesi Jirga should appreciate Gen. Raziq for his courage.

Nafeez Zakaria Pakistani foreign minister claimed that the census workers were on the Pakistani side when attacked, General Abdul Raziq, police chief in Kandahar province said that the census was being used to hide crossing of militants from Pakistan to Afghanistan. The army and the paramilitary forces were deployed at the border to monitor the situation and also stop people from crossing the border.

More than 50 Pakistani villagers and several troops were wounded when, Pakistan said, Afghanistan fired across the border on census workers and troops escorting them. Islamabad also claimed 50 Afghan troops were killed in retaliatory action, a claim Kabul denies, saying only two border policemen and a civilian were killed.

During the cross-border attack, mortar shells fired from the Afghan side hit houses in a village of Kali Luqman.

Hundreds of trucks and other vehicles carrying Afghan transit trade goods and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation supplies were stuck on both sides of the border as the crossing points at the Friendship Gate and other places were closed.

Pakistan has since closed the busy Chaman border crossing with landlocked Afghanistan.

IGFC said that Afghan forces used the Pakistani Nationals as human shield and targeted the innocent children.

Pakistani and Afghanistan military commanders agreed to carry out a geological survey of the border area.

Border controls had been virtually absent in the area.

Sediqi further added that the Afghan troops prevented the illegal movements of the Pakistani militia forces inside the Afghan soil and it was the Pakistani troops who launched the attack first.

Recent efforts by Pakistan to build a barrier at the main border crossing in the town of Torkham, near the Khyber Pass, had also angered Afghanistan a year ago.

Relations between the countries have been uneasy since Pakistan's independence in 1947.

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