Afghanistan-Pakistan border crossing reopens

Kabul/Islamabad, Feb 25 (EFE).- The main border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan reopened on Saturday, after almost a week of closure following a confrontation between border forces of the two sides, officials said.

“According to Torkham crossing point officials, the gate opened today for all types of travelers and transit,” Director of Information and Culture at Nangarhar province, Quraishi Badloon, told EFE.

Muhammed Ayaz, a police official at Pakistan’s Landi Kotal police station – near Torkham – told EFE that “the gate was opened at 6am in the morning. Normally it’s open from 7am to 7pm.”

“Yesterday it was opened in the afternoon only for those Pakistanis who were stranded on the Afghan side and for the Afghans who were stranded on the Pakistani side. But today its open for all kinds of traffic and pedestrians,” he added.

On Sunday, the Taliban closed the Torkham pass, which connects northern Pakistan with eastern Afghanistan and accounts for 65 percent of the traffic between the two countries, after a clash between border authorities that left a Pakistani soldier wounded.

According to Islamabad, the shooting broke out as its forces tried to limit the entry of companions to patients for medical treatment arriving from Afghanistan, which was interpreted by the Taliban as a breach of their commitments on the transit of Afghan patients.

The two sides agreed on Wednesday to reopen the border after a high-level Pakistani delegation traveled to Kabul, although Torkham remained closed until now and the Taliban accused Pakistan of breaching the agreement.

Those mainly affected were a large number of Afghans who travel to Pakistan for health reasons, given the scarce health coverage in Afghanistan, and the thousands of truckers stuck with their goods on both sides.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have a 2,600km long porous border, which successive Afghan governments have refused to recognize as the international border, and called it the Durand Line. Skirmishes have often occurred along the border.

Pakistan has completed 90 percent work of erecting barbed wire along the border to avoid illegal crossing, especially by militants.

The country claims the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or the Pakistani Taliban, leadership is hiding in Afghanistan, which the Afghan Taliban refutes.

Pakistan has seen a sharp increase in terrorism since the Afghan Taliban seized power in August 2021.

In December last year, at least six civilians were killed and another 17 were injured when Afghan Taliban forces opened fire on the Pakistani side using heavy weapons at the Chaman border, the second largest crossing point.

As per official data, around 65 percent travelers cross through Torkham in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province followed by around 25 percent through Chaman in Balochistan province. EFE


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