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Official: 8 Afghans killed by Pakistani artillery

From Masoud Popalzai, CNN
updated 1:26 PM EDT, Sun July 22, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Pakistan blames militants for deadly cross-border attacks
  • Eight people were killed and 22 wounded on Friday night
  • Deaths come after latest meeting between countries to discuss security situation in Afghanistan
  • Military officials to meet about reported shelling, news release says

(CNN) -- Eight people were killed in eastern Afghanistan by rockets fired from Pakistan, an official from the Afghan province of Kunar told CNN on Sunday.

The attack happened Friday night, a day after Pakistan's new Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf visited Afghanistan, said Wasifullah Wasifi, a spokesman for the governor of the province.

At least 22 other villagers were injured in the Dangam district, Wasifi said. Women and children were among the dead.

Afghan officials said they believe more than 300 rockets were fired by the Pakistan army stationed near the border, he said. The Pakistani military shelled Afghanistan several times in the past four months. There are militant strongholds on both sides of the border.

The Pakistani military disputed the claim, saying that the country's troops only engage militants where they attack. It said that over a year's time, militants have staged deadly cross-border attacks on Pakistani checkpoints and citizens.

Jawed Ludin, Afghanistan's deputy foreign minister, met with Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan's ambassador to Kabul, on Sunday.

According to a written statement from the Afghan foreign ministry, Ludin told the ambassador that continued shelling against Afghan villages could hinder relations between the two countries, which share a 2,460-kilometer (1,510 miles) long border.

Senior-level military officials from both countries will meet in the near future to address the issue and improve military coordination along that section of the border, according to the statement.

On Thursday, the Pakistani prime minister, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and British Prime Minister David Cameron met in Kabul and discussed the Afghan peace process, security transition in the country and the fight against terrorism.

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