Conflicts & War

Pakistan urges Taliban to reopen Afghan border crossing

Islamabad, Aug 11 (EFE).- Pakistan on Wednesday urged the Taliban to reopen the Chaman border crossing, which the insurgents captured a month ago as part of a nationwide offensive and has been closed by them since Saturday over Pakistan’s entry requirements.

“We have not closed the border, they (the Taliban) have closed it and we ask them to open it so people from both sides meeting requirements can travel,” Juma Dad, the deputy commissioner of Chaman, told EFE over the telephone.

The Taliban had on Friday announced the closure of the crossing “for all types of pedestrian movement including transit and trade until Pakistan relaxed visa requirements for the Afghans crossing the border,” Juma said.

The officer admitted that Pakistan has “certain requirements and conditions for people who want to travel because of Covid-19 issues,” but said that he did not understand what were the Taliban’s “actual demands.”

On Jul. 14, Taliban had seized control of the Afghan side of the border, called Wesh, at the Chaman crossing, which led to the Pakistani authorities shutting the crossing immediately over fears that radical Islamists could enter the country.

The border was reopened from the Pakistani side a few days later after authorities held a round of talks with the insurgents, a local official told EFE.

Once the crossing opened, Taliban fighters imposed new taxes on different commercial goods, which led to the traders having to pay double taxes: first to the Taliban for crossing, and later again to the Afghan government.

Chaman is the second largest border point between the two countries and provides the landlocked Afghanistan road access to the sea port in Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest financial hub.

As per official data, normally around 1000 commercial trucks cross through the point daily.

However, after the Taliban captured the border, the number of truck transits had reduced to 100 per day because of the security situation. EFE

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