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Dozens of families flee Torkham as tension prevails

Dozens of families flee Torkham as tension prevails

Jun 14, 2016 - 22:50

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Dozens of families have moved to safer places from Torkham border town fearing more clashes between Afghan and Pakistani security forces as situation along the border crossing remained tense following deadly border skirmishes.

Officials in eastern Nangarhar province confirmed a number of families had fled their homes in Torkham township, but did not provide exact figures. However, local residents put the number of families fleeing at 50.

Intermittent exchanges of gunfire between Afghan and Pakistani forces continued for a third on Tuesday. So far two Afghan border guards and one Pakistani army major among several others had been killed and wounded.

Nangarhar officials said two Afghan children were killed after their home was hit by Pakistani firing in Ghwargi area of Torkham last night.

The situation in the border area remained tense and the border crossing remained closed for a third day on Tuesday, leaving stranded thousands of travelers on both sides of the border, called Durand Lineinfo-icon.

Hundreds of families live in Ghwargi area. A resident of the area, Madina, told Pajhwok Afghan News that a mortar shell fired by the Pakistani forces from across the border hit a home in their village, killing two children. “We migrated because of possible clashes.”

“You can see our children in this vehicle, we are migrating and have left behind everything. The land of God is wide, we will find refuge elsewhere,” she said.

Another resident, Noor Habib, said he had already sent away his family members from Ghwargi area and now wanted to shift the household items. “Some 50 families from our area have migrated fearing clashes. They moved beyond Daki area.”

Shopkeepers and owners of vehicles were also seen trying to flee the border town. A Jalalabad resident, Naved Khan, who deals in cars at Torkham, said “last night a mortar from across the border hit my car stand and torched my two small cars.”

He said many people remained trapped in the area and car owners were trying to shift their vehicles elsewhere due to the continuation of the tension.

Nangarhar governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani confirmed two children were killed in Ghwargi area in Pakistani firing last night. He also confirmed many families had fled their homes.  He said the clash between the Afghan and Pakistani forces had ended.

Col. Ayub Hussainkhel, 301 border zone police official, said it were the Pakistani forces who first started firing last night and the Afghan forces fought with them for several hours.

Hussainkhel said nothing about the migrationinfo-icon of families to safer areas, but said the Afghan forces were poised to deal with any possible aggression.

A Pajhwok Afghan News cameraman, who visited Torkham, said the situation in the area remained tense and fresh cross border clashes could resume anytime.



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