Pakistan airstrike kills five Afghan civilians: Officials

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Afghan officials say at least five civilians have been killed in an airstrike by Pakistani forces on a border district.

On Saturday, police chief in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province said ten people were also wounded in the strike on Dangam district.

This comes as Pakistani army has launched a major offensive against pro-Taliban militants near the Afghan border in the past nine days.

Afghanistan says hundreds of rockets and bombs have landed in its villages close to the border. It has demanded Islamabad stop the operation that kills civilians.

Pakistan has said that the airstrikes have targeted Taliban militants who conduct attacks on its soil from across the Afghan border.

Islamabad has promised to investigate the claimed civilian deaths.

Tensions between the two neighbors have risen in recent months. Afghanistan blames elements within the Pakistani government for supporting Taliban militants, while Islamabad blames Kabul for giving refuge to militants on its side of the border.

The US invaded Afghanistan with the official objective of curbing militancy and bringing peace and stability to the region. However, after more than 12 years, the region remains unstable and militancy has expanded toward Pakistan.

Moreover, relations between Kabul and Islamabad have been strained in recent months, especially over the delicate issue of demarcation of the two countries’ border, which is a key battleground in the fight against the Taliban.

Afghanistan has never recognized the British-drawn colonial era border line with Pakistan.

Pakistan recognizes the Durand Line, the 1893 British-mandated border between the two neighbors, but Afghanistan says that activity by either side along the Durand Line must be approved by both countries.

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