Pakistan temporarily reopens two border crossings with Afghanistan

Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday temporarily reopened two border crossings with Afghanistan which were closed in February after a spate of terror attacks in the country.

Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Sufi shrine was attacked by IS militants. AP

Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Sufi shrine was attacked by IS militants. AP

The opening of the Torkham and Chaman border crossing points on 7 and 8 March is being seen as a move to ease tension between the two neighbours and relieve some of the backlog of people and vehicles at the border, Dawn online reported.

According to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry, Afghans and Pakistanis with valid travel documents will be allowed to cross the border points for two days.

The two crossing points are major arteries for trade and commerce between Islamabad and Kabul. Other crossings, which are less in use, will remain closed.

"We have only allowed patients to cross borders on the basis of valid documents," a Pakistani official told The News International.

According to an Afghan official, no trade activity between Pakistan and Afghanistan has resumed so far.

Another security official at Chaman said hundreds of Afghans were crossing the border and Pakistanis were returning amid tight security.

Pakistan shut the crossings hours after a bombing at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan town of Sindh on February 16. Nearly 90 persons died in the attack which Islamabad blamed on militants operating from Afghanistan.

Islamabad also sought to use the closure as a tool to pressure Kabul to act against militants with sanctuaries across the border.

The reopening came a day after the killing of five Pakistani soldiers in a gunfight with militants crossing over from Afghanistan, officials said.

Islamabad demanded that Afghanistan take action against militants launching attacks in Pakistan. Afghanistan has described the allegations as baseless.


Published Date: Mar 07, 2017 05:54 pm | Updated Date: Mar 07, 2017 05:54 pm