Mutual expulsion of diplomats by Pakistan, India should not lead to escalation: US

WASHINGTON, June 16 (APP): The United Sates on Wednesday expressed concern over border clashes between Pakistan and Afghanistan and said good relations between the two neighbors were key to stability in the region.

At a briefing at the US State Department, Spokesman John Kirby said the United States was concerned over the recent clashes at the Torkham crossing point between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The spokesman also expressed concern about presence of heavy weapons at the border and stated that there had been reports of casualties on both sides of the border.

“We continue to encourage the governments of both Pakistan and Afghanistan to resolve their disagreements at the crossing point and to de-escalate tensions,” the spokesman said , adding that good relations between the two countries were “key to the stability to the region”.

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Responding to a question, the spokesman said reported casualties happened over the last 24 hours. A major of the Pakistan army was killed in unprovoked firing by the Afghan forces from across the border at Torkham Gate.

Torkham is the most frequented crossing point at Pak-Afghan border and recently even most of the terrorists had been found using it for entry, according to the ISPR.

The incident took place when Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Olson was in the region, and the spokesman said on Tuesday he shared concerns over the situation.

Pakistan also called Afghan’s Charge d’ Affires at the foreign office and lodged a strong protest with the Afghan government over unprovoked firing by the Afghan forces.

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The firing was aimed at disrupting the construction of a gate well inside Pakistani territory at the border to facilitate cross-border movement of people and vehicles.