Taliban guard kills 2 at border crossing: Pakistan army

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A Taliban guard opened fire at civilians at a border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing two people, including a 12-year-old boy, the Pakistani military said.

Another child was wounded in the shooting at the Chaman border crossing in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. The military said in a statement that Pakistani troops “exercised extreme restraint” to avoid more casualties in the shooting.

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The army did not say anything on the Afghan Taliban guard’s possible motives for opening fire and there was no immediate comment from Afghanistan’s Taliban government.

Pakistan has asked the Afghan Taliban authorities to investigate the “irresponsible and reckless act, apprehend and hand over the culprit to Pakistani authorities,” the military also said.

On Tuesday, Pakistan announced a major crackdown on migrants who are in the country illegally, many of them from Afghanistan, and said it would expel them, starting next month.

The announcement raised alarm among foreigners who are in Pakistan without documentation — including an estimated 1.7 million Afghans. Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said the crackdown was not aimed at Afghans and would apply to all nationalities.

The development is likely to add to the already strained relations with the Taliban in Afghanistan over what the Pakistani government says are attacks inside its territory by Taliban-allied militants. The insurgents go back and forth across the border spanning 2,611 kilometers (1,622 miles) to find safe havens in Afghanistan.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the chief spokesman for the Taliban government, said Pakistan’s announcement about the migrants was “unacceptable” and urged Islamabad to reconsider.

“Afghan refugees are not involved in Pakistan’s security problems. As long as they leave Pakistan voluntarily, that country should tolerate them,” Mujahid said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Pakistan has been a haven for Afghan refugees since millions fled Afghanistan during the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation, creating one of the world’s largest refugee populations. Many more Afghans have fled since then, including an estimated 100,000 since the Taliban seized control of the country in August 2021.

Although Pakistani police have routinely been arresting and deporting Afghans who have sneaked into the country without valid documents in recent years, this is the first time that the government has announced such a major crackdown on illegal immigration.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman said it was “obviously a concerning development.”

“As a matter of principle it is critical that no refugees be sent back without it being a voluntary and dignified return,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at UN headquarters in New York.

Read more:

Pakistan evictions of Afghan immigrants ‘unacceptable’: Taliban

Pakistan orders all illegal immigrants to leave after suicide bombings

Police officer killed in eastern Punjab province in Pakistani Taliban attack

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