A barrage of cross-border artillery and rocket attacks from Pakistan have forced thousands of Afghan villagers to flee their homes, witnesses and officials in Afghanistan said Tuesday.
The shelling was reported in eastern Kunar province after Pakistan accused Afghanistan of giving safe haven to militants who infiltrated the border to kill 13 Pakistani soldiers.
“More than 500 families have been displaced in two districts of Dangam and Nari due to continued Pakistani rocket shelling in the past two weeks,” said Wasefullah Wasef, a spokesman for the provincial government in Kunar.
Mohammad Yusuf, police chief of Nari also accused Pakistan’s military over the shelling.
“We have intelligence that the rockets are fired from Pakistani army posts situated directly on the other side of the border,” he told.
“Many people have already left their homes in the past two weeks. We have stayed, but we can not venture out of our hiding places because of the continued shelling, We are poor people, we demand the government take action to protect us,” local resident, Abdul Qader.
Pakistan said 13 soldiers were killed after militants crossed from Afghanistan into the northwestern district of Upper Dir, a key transit route that neighbors the Swat valley where Pakistan defeated a Taliban insurgency in 2009.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Its troops have been fighting local Taliban for years but US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned that Washington is running out of patience over Pakistani havens for militants who attack Americans in Afghanistan.