KABUL Pakistan announced it had reopened a major border crossing with Afghanistan on Saturday, more than three weeks after several people were killed when troops from both sides exchanged fire for several hours.The Chaman crossing into Afghanistan's Kandahar province was reopened on "humanitarian grounds" after Afghan officials submitted a request, according to a statement by the Pakistani military."It has been agreed upon by Pakistan authorities that [a] cease fire shall continue to be maintained and no border violation will be acceptable," the statement said, noting that Pakistani troops will maintain positions along the border.
Afghan officials were not immediately available for comment.On May 5 Pakistan's military said a census team - guarded by troops from its Frontier Corps (FC) - that was collecting population data in a village near the border town of Chaman came under fire and at least one person was killed and 18 wounded.
At the time, Zia Durani, police spokesman for Afghanistan's Kandahar province, said Pakistani officials were using the census as a cover for "malicious activities and to provoke villagers against the government".Afghan officials said dozens of Afghan and Pakistani troops were killed in the fighting.
Landlocked Afghanistan depends heavily on cross-border trade with Pakistan, not only for daily resources, but also international humanitarian aid for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by fighting and economic malaise.Tension has been increasing in recent months with each side accusing the other of not doing enough to stop militants engaging in cross-border raids.Last year, Pakistan started building a barrier at the main border crossing in the town of Torkham, near the Khyber Pass, angering Afghanistan which has never formally recognised the colonial-era Durand Line border drawn up in 1893. (Writing by Josh Smith; Editing by Toby Chopra)
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Updated Date: May 27, 2017 20:38:44 IST