By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - Afghan authorities on Monday handed over a Pakistani border guard and the dead bodies of five Pakistani troops who had been killed during clashes along the disputed Durand Line over the weekend.
Speaking at a news conference in southeastern Khost province, Governor Hukum Khan Habibi said the captured guard and five bodies were handed over to Pakistan “with full respect and in line with the standard protocols”.
“Situation [in the Zazi Maidan mountainous area where clashes broke out] is normal now after a cease-fire agreement was reached between the two sides,” Habibi said.
On Sunday, both sides gave conflicting death tolls and accused each other of opening fire on their troops along the disputed 2,430-kilometer (1,510-mile) long border region known as the Durand Line, which is named after the British colonial officer Sir Mortimer Durand who drew it between the then British India and Afghanistan in 1896.
Pakistani military’s media wing ISPR had told Anadolu Agency that two Pakistani border troops were killed and six others injured in the clash. The ISPR had also accused Afghanistan of opening fire on Pakistani troops in the country’s Kurram Agency when they were carrying out routine surveillance along the Pak-Afghan border and making necessary preparations to start fencing of that area.
However, Afghan National Police interim chief Col. Abdul Hanan had contradicted the Pakistani claims, telling Anadolu Agency the clash was allegedly initiated by the Pakistani side.