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Setback to Pakistan as fresh violence breaks out along the Afghan border 

The Torkham border between Afghanistan and Pakistan (Photo: Natiq Malikzada/Twitter)

Just days after Pakistan-Afghanistan high-level talks on terrorism, border issues and security, two people were killed near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Chaman on Thursday. Social media reports say that the two killed – Sadqeen and Gul Muhammad, were Pakistani security officials.

The Chaman border connects Pakistan’s Balochistan province with Kandahar in Afghanistan and witnessed violence earlier also.

Gunmen opened fire on the security personnel and escaped. Forces from the Levies paramilitary and the Frontier Corps cordoned off the area for investigations.

Pakistani journalist Jawad Yousafzai says that a new group has emerged in Pakistan – Tehreek-i-Jihad Pakistan (TJP), which has claimed responsibility for the attack. He says: “The group is less prominent and perhaps for the first time claimed responsibility of any attack in Pakistan. The group is led by the Mullah Abdullah Yagestani with a spokesperson Mullah Muhammad Qasim. The Debandi sect group wants to implement the Sharia law across Pakistan”.

The new group, which claims to have thousands of fighters and hundreds of suicide bombers, has announced an armed struggle in Pakistan. It plans to target security forces which it considers is the biggest hurdle in the ideology of Pakistan.

Speculation mounts that the new groups could be a proxy for the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and has been established to provide cover and distraction for TTP’s attacks on the Pakistani security forces. In the Peshawar suicide bombing in late January, the TTP initially claimed responsibility but retracted the statement later.

It was only on Wednesday that Pakistani Defence Minister Khwaja Asif along with the ISI chief had visited Kabul for talks with the Taliban government. The Pakistani delegation reportedly met with Afghan Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Beradar Akhund, Defence Minister Mawlavi Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid, Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani and Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Pakistani Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that discussions revolved around terrorism in the region, particularly by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISKP). She added that the two governments have “agreed to collaborate towards addressing the threat of terrorism and strengthen multifaceted bilateral cooperation”.

Despite the talks, border tensions remain between the two neighbours with sporadic firing taking lives of many Pakistani security personnel.

The other vital Afghanistan-Pakistan border crossing at Torkham remains closed for the fifth day. It had been closed down on Sunday by the Taliban government accusing Pakistan of not allowing Afghan patients to visit for treatment. Pakistan accused the Afghan patients of not observing proper paperwork and rules agreed between the two governments.

The closing of the border has increased suffering for many Afghan refugees in Pakistan who want to go back. It has also held back hundreds of trucks on both sides of the border. For Pakistan this means it cannot export its products to countries in the Central Asian Region (CAR).

Also read: Karachi attack investigation flounders, police suspect TTP relied on inside support