Conflicts & War

Pakistan reopens 2nd key Afghan border point

Islamabad, Nov 2 (EFE).- The second-largest commercial border point between Afghanistan and Pakistan reopened on Tuesday, nearly a month after the Taliban shut it in protest against harsh travel rules by Islamabad.

The Chaman crossing in Balochistan province, a vital source of revenue for Afghanistan, had remained closed, despite repeated protests by truckers and others stuck waiting to cross over for trade or meeting families.

“Today, at 8am the border was open for usual trade and pedestrian movement,” Abdul Ghani, a security official at Chaman, told EFE.

The official said the two sides decided to reopen the border point for pedestrians and trade activities in a meeting on Monday.

“Afghan authorities removed cement blocks that they had placed in front of the gates on Oct.6,” Ghani said.

He said the Taliban had closed down the entry point, saying the Afghans were facing difficulties in crossing the border due to harsh rules by Pakistan.

However, Islamabad denied the allegations.

The crossing point, known as Chaman on the Pakistani side and Wesh on the Afghan side, is the second-largest crossing point between the two countries.

It provides landlocked Afghanistan access to the Pakistani seaport of Karachi.

Pakistan first closed the border in May to contain the spread of coronavirus. But the crossing was open for trade and Pakistani and Afghan citizens to go to their respective countries.

The Taliban then captured the passage days before taking control of Kabul on Aug.15. It was briefly reopened until early October when the Islamist militia again decreed its closure.

Pakistani authorities reopened the largest crossing points of Torkham for pedestrian movement on Oct 22, a day after Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi traveled to Kabul on his first visit after the Taliban takeover in mid-August.

The visit was to boost ties between Pakistan and the Taliban government. EFE


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