Pakistan, Afghanistan in dispute over cross-border shooting, detention of Pakistani man



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ISLAMABAD — Pakistan and Afghanistan are in the midst of a diplomatic dispute. The two neighbors have summoned each other's ambassadors to lodge protests over the detention of a Pakistani official in the Afghan city of Kandahar and a deadly cross-border shootout between Pakistani and Afghan border police, officials said Friday.

In a statement, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said an official working in Pakistan's consulate in Kandahar was forcibly taken away by Afghan forces on Thursday. Hours later, according to the statement, Afghan authorities handed the official over to the Pakistani embassy in the capital, Kabul, about 450 kilometers (282 miles) away.

The ministry statement also expressed concern over this week's cross-border shooting incident, in which an Afghan border guard was killed and two Pakistani security officers were wounded. The Pakistani statement contends that the soldiers on the Afghan side of the Angoor Adda border crossing opened fire first.

The circumstances surrounding the detention of the Pakistani official at the Kandahar consulate remain murky. Samim Akhpelwak, a spokesman for Kandahar's governor, said his office didn't detain or arrest any Pakistani official and was unaware of any such detention.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have had a history of tense relations. The two governments have frequently traded accusations that each was harboring and assisting the other's militants groups along their shared border. That mistrust appeared to have improved last year following a Taliban attack on a Pakistani school that killed nearly 150 people, mostly schoolchildren.

On Thursday, Pakistan summoned the Afghan ambassador to protest the detention. Hours earlier Afghanistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs had summoned Pakistan's ambassador to protest the June 30 cross-border shooting incident, according to a statement released by Kabul on Thursday.

Neither country has clarified what prompted the shootout.

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Associated Press writer Amir Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan contributed to this report.

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