Pak: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Chitral region under massive cross-border tensions

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A Pashtun man passes a road sign while pulling supplies towards the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing in Chaman November 28, 2011. A NATO cross-border air attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at the weekend could hurt cooperation on Afghanistan, Pakistan's army spokesman said on Monday. REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed (PAKISTAN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY)

The Chitral region in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has recently made headlines owing to a fatal cross-border incursion on September 6, Dawn reported.
Chitral is located in a strategically important territory, bordering Afghanistan and separated from Tajikistan only by the Wakhan Corridor. The Chinese Xinjiang area is also nearby.
Even though Chitral has been relatively free of terrorist activity, this makes it for terrorist groups eager to expand their operations.
The location where the intrusion occurred is close to Kalash traditional areas, and Chitral also has a sizable Ismaili population. As a result, the authorities must increase security in the area, as the proscribed terrorist outfit, Tehreek-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) and sectarian militants thrive on targeting minority communities.
Though the authorities have not provided any figures, the raiders were said to number in the ‘hundreds’.
The temporary foreign minister argues that the attack was an “isolated incident” and that the Afghan Taliban rulers did not condone it, while the Foreign Office reiterates that Pakistan’s concerns have been addressed to the necessary parties in Kabul.
A jirga in Chitral has requested that the army leader visit the area and that the authorities fence the border with Afghanistan.
Notably, the main crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan remained closed for the 5th consecutive day as talks between the two countries to reopen the border remained inconclusive.
The border was closed after clashes were triggered by the construction of a new post along the border.
These clashes have led to the death of four Afghan children, two Taliban forces, and two Pakistani army personnel. Furthermore, the Torkham border crossing has also been closed.
The busy Torkham border crossing was closed on Wednesday after Pakistani and Afghan Taliban forces started firing at each other, according to local officials.
Both sides blamed each other for initiating the clash. Till now no casualty has been reported.
Disputes linked to the 2,600 km (1,615 miles) border have been a bone of contention between the neighbours for decades, reports told.
The crossing has been closed several times in recent years, including a closure in February that saw thousands of trucks laden with goods stranded on each side of the border for days.

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