By Muhammad Tahir
ISLAMABAD, July 28 (Xinhua)-- Cross-border attacks by Pakistani Taliban militants have stirred up tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan at a time when both countries have agreed to jointly work for the success of the much-needed peace and reconciliation efforts in the war-torn country.
According to Islamabad insiders, Pakistani Taliban militants, who had fled military operations in tribal regions over the past three years, have now established bases in remote border regions inside Afghanistan and routinely launch attacks on Pakistani border posts and villages.
Kabul has officially denied the claim and insisted that Pakistani forces daily fire rockets into Afghan territory, which they said have caused casualties and displaced hundreds of families. But the Pakistani Army has rejected the charge and insisted that they only targeted fleeing militants.
Tension has heightened in the wake of a deadly attack on a Pakistani border post in northwestern Upper Dir district in late June where militants killed six Pakistani soldiers and kidnapped 17 others who were brutally beheaded later in Afghanistan.
A video on the ambush and beheading was released to the media and also uploaded on websites. The Pakistani Taliban from Swat valley had claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Sirajuddin, the militant group's spokesman, who spoke to journalists from its base inside Afghanistan.
When Pakistani forces launched a counter attack against the militants, Afghan authorities said that Pakistani rockets landed in border regions of Afghanistan's Kunar province. Afghan authorities said that at least four people were killed in a recent Pakistani shelling.
Afghanistan summoned Pakistani ambassador to the Foreign Ministry last week to lodge a formal protest over the shelling.
An Afghan presidential spokesman had earlier warned that it would be forced to elevate the issue to the UN Security Council if diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the issue.
In a meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Tabbani Khar here on Thursday, Afghan Ambassador Omar Daudzai said that " Pakistani rockets fire"have provoked Afghans, which"should be stopped immediately."
Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Moazzam Khan said that Islamabad "takes these attacks very seriously" and that " corrective measures" will soon be taken by the government.
In a rare display of solidarity with the Afghan government, the Afghan Taliban also called on Pakistan to end what it called the " illegal and unjustified attacks" against Afghanistan in border areas.
Leaders of the two countries have agreed to open channels of communication with Afghan Taliban during Pakistani prime minister' s visit to Kabul on July 19.
Some analysts, however, have said that non-state actors, such as the Afghan Taliban, are out to sabotage the peace process and would try to foment hostility between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
They said that Pakistan and Afghanistan must be aware of the sinister plot of the militants and must focus on the reconciliation efforts as instability in Afghanistan would directly affect Pakistan.
Special Report: Afghanistan Situation