MIRANSHAH: Mortar shells from Afghanistan on Tuesday killed four Pakistani soldiers, the latest cross-border escalation as Afghan President Hamid Karzai hosted his Pakistani counterpart in Kabul.
Pakistani officials said two other soldiers were wounded in the attack in South Waziristan, part of the lawless tribal district on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan that Washington has called the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda.
Afghan security officials in the area were not reachable and the defence ministry in Kabul told AFP it could neither confirm nor deny the reports.
"Four soldiers were killed and two others were wounded in this cross-border attack," a security official in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar told AFP, saying that the shelling continued for around two hours.
"More than 20 mortar shells were fired from across the border. Three shells slammed into a paramilitary Frontier Corps checkpost in Angoor Adda," he added.
Another security official in Wana, the main town in South Waziristan, confirmed the incident and casualties.
Both officials blamed the Afghan army for the attack.
In recent weeks tensions have sharply risen on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan's Kunar and Nangarhar provinces, which villagers say have been bombarded with hundreds of rocket attacks.
Hundreds of Afghans took to the streets in the eastern town of Jalalabad last week chanting "death to Pakistani invaders" to protest against cross-border attacks that they claim have killed dozens of people.
Pakistan says its security forces may have fired a few accidental rounds into Afghanistan while pursuing militants. It also says that insurgents from Afghanistan have crossed the border to attack security checkpoints.
Taliban and other Al-Qaeda-linked militants have carved out strongholds on both sides of the porous border. Afghanistan and Pakistan blame each other for cross border attacks and responsibility for militant sanctuaries.
Pakistan's president was in Afghanistan on Tuesday following talks in Iran, where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for a boost in relations.
His talks in Kabul with Karzai come with Pakistan keen to be included in Afghan and US efforts to reach out to the Taliban and broker a political solution to 10 years of fighting in Afghanistan.
State news agency APP said Zardari told Karzai that Pakistan was a strong supporter of "peace and stability" and that talks focused on the "scenario" in Afghanistan with US troops starting to leave in a gradual process.
Karzai's office said Zardari had come to pay his respects over last week's assassination of the president's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai , known as the "king of Kandahar " and the key powerbroker in southern Afghanistan.
Tags: Afghanistan, ANA, ANP, Pakistan, Army, Police, Frontier, Corps, Mortar
Location: Miran shah, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan (load item map)
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