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Closely watching Pak, Afghanistan Torkham tension: U.S.


Washington : The United States has said it is closely watching the ongoing tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan in the aftermath of the recent clash between the security forces of both sides at Torkham border gate.

“I could tell you we are all watching the tensions very closely, that we are in touch with officials on both sides. We continue to urge a calm resolution to the tension,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said at his daily news conference.

He added, “We obviously don’t want to see clashes; we don’t want to see violence; we don’t want to see it get worse. And I can assure you that Ambassador Olson shares those sentiments”

Kirby was responding to questions on tensions between Islamabad and Kabul in the aftermath of the cross firing across the Durand Line.

The Special U.S Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Olson, has been in the two countries over the weekend.

In Islamabad, the envoy met with government officials, including Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif, to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues.

In Kabul, he met with Afghan government officials including President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar.

This meeting comes after clash between the security forces of both sides broke out early on Saturday over the reported attempt by Pakistan to erect a new installation at the gate.

Both nations have increased their troops across the Torkham border after a Pakistani officer died in a clash yesterday.

The main gates at Torkham, the most frequented official border crossing at the end of the Khyber Pass, stayed closed for the third day yesterday, leaving thousands stranded on both sides.

Both countries have summoned each other’s ambassador to register its protest at the violence.

Pakistan says it is building the gate to stop militants from crossing the border.

Firing between the two countries first broke out on Sunday after the Afghan forces prevented Pakistanis from constructing a gate at Torkham.

Afghanistan has blocked repeated attempts by Pakistan to build a fence on sections of the roughly 2,200-km-long frontier, rejecting the contours of the boundary. (ANI)

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