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Taliban-Islamabad hostility reaches new high after a Pakistani chopper near Durand Line is attacked

Representational image. The hostility between Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan has touched a new high after a Pakistani helicopter in which a general was likely travelling was attacked on April 7 (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@khaama)

The hostility  between Taliban ruled Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan has touched a new high after a Pakistani helicopter in which a  general was likely travelling was attacked on April 7.

People aware of the incident told India Narrative that initial inputs revealed that the chopper was fired upon from Zakir village on the Durand Line in Nimroz province, adjacent to the Chagai mountains in Balochistan. A senior army officer was injured during the attack, and there was damage to the helicopter as well. 

Later, a Kabul based news agency reported that a Pak Army General was injured in the incident. According to media reports the Pakistani army demanded the handover of  people responsible for the attack. But the Taliban rejected  the request, signalling  the deep animosity  between the Taliban and Pakistan.

Insiders say that since the issue has been raised to such a high level, it signals that a high-ranking officer was on board the chopper. They point out that the helicopter could have been on a routine border area   mission, and it is normal for  senior Army officers to be part of the reconnaissance.  However, flying too close to the Durand Line could have prompted the Taliban fighters to fire at it, especially as the sensitivity regarding the border alignment is running very high. The Pashtuns who live on either side of the Durand line are aspiring for a homeland of their own, but this can only happen if the British era Durand line is abolished. The Taliban have also rejected Pakistan’s exhortations to handover key member of the Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TPP), a Pashtun dominated terror group which has takes the lead in attacking Pakistani forces across the Durand line in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Observers say that the attack could also have been timed to the internal turmoil inside Pakistan triggered by Prime Minister Imran Khan refusal to face a no-confidence motion against him.

So far, neither the Pakistani  authorities nor the Taliban have made any official statement on the incident.

The sources said that  Mujahideen or religious fighters from the 215 Azam Corps based at Helmand have arrived in Nimroz, in the eventuality of a full-scale confrontation with the Pakistani forces.

Video sent to Afghanistan’s TOLO news channel showed Afghan forces heading to Zakir village, the place from which the attack was launched.

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