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Friday
May032013

Gunfight on Afghan-Pakistani Border Strains Countries' Relations

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Just a week after Secretary of State John Kerry tried to forge closer ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a border shooting threatens to undo his work.

Kabul and Islamabad are claiming each is responsible for spurring a long shootout that occurred Wednesday night into Thursday morning in which an Afghan police officer was killed and two others were wounded.

Afghanistan said Thursday the Pakistani military opened fire first, but the Pakistanis maintained that the Afghans started the gunfire and wounded two Pakistan guards at their post in the Mohmand tribal region.

Either way, the incident will only further strain ties between the two countries, which have long blamed each other for the proliferation of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters who traverse the shared border.

Last week, Kerry met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayan in Brussels to get their governments to work more closely in hammering out an agreement with the Taliban to end the 11-year war in Afghanistan.

The U.S. sees Islamabad’s involvement as key in reaching a deal because of its complicated relationship with the Taliban, which originated in Pakistan.

While Pakistan is reluctant to come down hard on the Taliban, it also sees the possibility of a civil war in Afghanistan once coalition troops are withdrawn next year -- a scenario that also threatens Pakistan's national security.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio