Pakistani, Afghan forces clash over flour smuggling

April 14th, 2008 - 7:31 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, April 14 (DPA) Pakistani paramilitary soldiers Monday engaged in a gunfight with Afghan forces along Balochistan border when the Pakistani forces tried to stop the smuggling of wheat flour, the military said in a statement. Afghan forces engaged a Pakistani post near the Chaman border crossing, located some 150 km north-west of Quetta, capital of Balochistan province, after Pakistani troops fired warning shots at three pickup trucks loaded with bags of flour.

The Frontier Corps troops had earlier signalled the vehicles to stop but the drivers ignored the directions and responded with gun fire.

Amid the exchange of fire that took place at around 6:30 am (0130 GMT), one of the vehicle was disabled but the other two crossed into Afghan territory.

Both sides stopped the fire after several hours of skirmishes and their commanders later discussed the incident in a meeting held at the Chaman border crossing.

Pakistan has banned the export of wheat flour to Afghanistan in the wake of the staple’s shortage in local markets. However, Afghans settled along the border regularly smuggle flour due to its exorbitant prices in the war-ravaged country.

The pro-Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal region have also clamped down on wheat flour smuggling, and seized two dozen trucks last week in North Waziristan that were transporting the commodity to Afghanistan.

On Monday, three vehicles were intercepted by Islamic militants in another tribal district of Mohmand agency and the truck drivers were detained.


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