"The mortar fired from Afghanistan hit the house of local villager Fazal Ghani. He along with his wife and five other members of the family died on spot," a senior Pakistani official says. The dead included three women, three children and a man.
A mortar shell fired from Afghanistan hit a house in a border village in northwest Pakistan Sunday, killing seven people who were members of the same family, officials said.
"The mortar fired from Afghanistan hit the house of local villager Fazal Ghani. He along with his wife and five other members of the family died on spot," senior police official Gulzar Khan told AFP.
The dead included three women, three children and the head of the family.
The incident took place in Batwaar Bangro village, some 50 kilometre from Khar, the main town of Bajaur tribal district in Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Khan said police and rescue officials helped the villagers retrieve dead bodies when they reached the site.
"The house (was) completely destroyed in the attack," Khan said.
Anwar Ul Haq, a senior government official in the area, confirmed the incident and the death toll and said the mortar was fired from Kunar province, across the border in Afghanistan.
Haq said the mortar collapsed the roof of the house, killing the family members.
Islamabad this week briefly closed the Torkham border crossing after a mortar fired from Afghanistan landed in Pakistan without causing any damage.
Bajaur is one of Pakistan's former seven semi-autonomous tribal districts bordering Afghanistan.
All seven districts, once a focal point in the global war on terror, were brought under the complete control of Islamabad after the passage of legislation in 2018.
Pakistan’s militant groups are often interlinked with those across the border in Afghanistan, and Bajur district was once a haven for Taliban insurgents.
Pakistan says the army has cleared the area in recent years, although sporadic violence persists.
Militants who were not killed have mostly fled across the rugged mountains into neighboring Afghanistan.
Terror attacks in Pakistan plummeted by more than 85 percent over the last decade, from nearly 2,000 in 2009 to fewer than 250 in 2019, according to a tally put together by Pakistani think tanks.
The steady decline underscores the long-haul nature of fighting terror.
Pakistan’s success in tackling terror is essential amid American attempts to wind down the war in Afghanistan and withdraw US troops.
Durand Line treaty
Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan – both Islamic republics – have long been fraught, with both countries accusing each other of supporting militants acting against the respective states.
In 1947 when British colonial powers were leaving the South Asian sub-continent, Pakistan inherited the Durand Line borders, that was drawn up by then Foreign Secretary of India, Sir Mortimer Durand, after visiting Kabul in 1893.
It was ratified by Afghanistan's emir Habibullah in 1905
The Anglo-Afghan treaty signed between the Britishers and Abdur Rahman as head of the Afghan government on August 8, 1919, also known as the Rawalpindi Treaty, again ratified the border demarcation.
Another treaty was signed between the two sides in 1921 that focused on trade concessions across the Durand Line, that are still availed by Afghanistan for its cross-border trade with Pakistan.
But Kabul refused to recognise the Durand Line after the British left the region and Afghanistan was the only country to object to Pakistan's inclusion in the United Nations in 1948.