by Staff Writers
Islamabad (AFP) Oct 30, 2017
Indian and Pakistani military commanders fired off heated accusations Monday in a rare telephone conversation between the nuclear-armed rivals over repeated cross-border firing in disputed Kashmir.
During the call initiated by Islamabad on a hotline, Pakistan's director-general of military operations lambasted his Indian counterpart for targeting "innocent civilians" near the Line of Control (LoC) -- the de facto border dividing the region.
"Indian troops are deliberately targeting innocent civilians including children... such deliberate actions are of serious concern and a violation of the 2003 agreement," said Major-General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, according to a statement.
India responded with a volley of its own accusations, saying Pakistan continues to send militants across the LoC to target Indian troops and places civilians near its military installations to aid insurgents.
"Lt Gen A.K. Bhatt emphatically stated that retaliatory firing by Indian troops has only been carried out in response to unabated support given by Pak Army to armed terrorists who infiltrate across the border and target Indian Army posts with heavy caliber weapons," said a statement released by the Indian side.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947, but both claim the territory in full.
The neighbours regularly exchange fire across the border despite signing a ceasefire in 2003.
Tensions reached dangerous levels following a militant attack on an Indian military base in September 2016, with each side blaming the other for cross-border raids.
There have since been continued outbreaks of firing across the heavily militarised frontier, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries including to civilians.
New Delhi repeatedly accuses Pakistan of initiating firing to help insurgents cross into Indian-administered Kashmir to attack its forces.
Islamabad says it only provides diplomatic support to the Kashmiri struggle for self-determination.
Arbil, Iraq (AFP) Oct 28, 2017
Parliament in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region said it will meet Sunday to redistribute the powers of president Massud Barzani who is facing pressure to quit after last month's independence vote. A statement from Barzani will be read out at the meeting which is set to open at 1100 GMT, parliament said on Saturday. On Tuesday, parliament decided to freeze the activities of Barzani, his vi ... read more
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