Afghan army accused of raids inside Pakistan

Up to 60 Afghan soldiers exchanged fire with Pakistani tribesmen in the Upper Kurram District in the country's volatile federally administered border regions in the northwest part of the country, Agence France Presse reported on Monday. 


Afghan forces did not suffer any casualties during the cross-border incursion, but two tribesman were reportedly killed during the melee, according to AFP. 

A third Pakistani was wounded during the 90-minute gun battle, after the tribesman opened fire on the Afghan troops once they crossed onto Pakistani soil, according to a senior Pakistani official.

Afghan forces reportedly crossed over into Pakistan while pursuing suspected militants who had just carried out an attack of their own on military positions inside Afghanistan, sources tell AFP. 

Officials from the Afghan Ministry of Defense denied their forces moved into Pakistani territory, stating the Afghan army has not carried out any recent operations in the border region. 

Kabul has also accused the Pakistan military of launching mortar attacks from inside the country against Afghan civilian targets, including villages, positioned along the Afghan-Pakistan border. 

In a statement issued Monday, Afghan foreign ministry spokesman Faramarz Tamanna said Kabul planned to file a protest with the United Nations Security Council over the mortar attacks. Islamabad is expected to submit a similar protest with the council over Monday's border attack. 

News of the border incursion comes days after Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, met with Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani to discuss ways to stem attacks against American positions along the border. 

The attacks also come days after American and NATO commanders began considering carrying out their own cross-border raids into Pakistan to root out terror cells along the border.

Allen, along with several high-level U.S. intelligence and special-operations leaders, were reportedly briefed on the plan earlier this month. 

The idea was spawned by Washington's increasing frustration with Islamabad's unwillingness to adequately seal off the border and root out terror groups seeking asylum inside Pakistan. 

A number of top Pentagon officials including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have accused Islamabad of providing safe haven and support to Haqqani fighters and other militant Islamic groups inside its borders.

Border clashes between coalition forces and terror groups like the Pakistani-based Haqqani Network have produced some of the heaviest fighting since the Obama administration surged more than 20,000 U.S. troops into the southern part of the country in 2009.