Pakistani officer dies of wounds from Afghan border clashes


PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistan army major wounded in cross-border clashes near Afghanistan died of his wounds at a military hospital on Tuesday morning, the military said.

The death of Maj. Ali Jawad Khan was the second fatality from the artillery exchanges at the Torkham crossing on the Afghan-Pakistan border that erupted late Sunday. The clashes have killed an Afghan border guard and left 18 wounded on both sides.

Pakistan’s powerful army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif joined Khan’s family and relatives for his funeral service in Peshawar later Tuesday. TV footage showed Sharif praying for Khan and consoling with his relatives. Khan’s body was to be returned to his hometown of Quetta, the provincial capital, where he will be buried later in the day.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also paid a tribute to Khan, saying he sacrificed his life in defense of his country.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have blamed one another for initiating the violence. The Torkham crossing has been closed since the violence erupted and tensions have escalated between the two neighbors.

Afghanistan does not recognize the present boundary, the so-called Durand Line, as an international border, and has denounced Pakistan’s plans to erect a fence at the crossing. Pakistan’s military has said it is “constructing a gate on its own side of the border as a necessary measure to check for unwanted and illegal movement.”

On Monday, Islamabad summoned Afghanistan’s charge d’affaires, Syed Abdul Nasir Yousufi, to complain about the incident, according to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.

Last month, the Torkham crossing was closed over a similar incident and reopened following a meeting between Sharif and Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal.