Pakistan-Afghan border reopens

Pakistan-Afghan border reopens after six days of friction

Islamabad, June 18 (IANS) The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Torkham reopened on Saturday, after a closure of nearly six days during which the two sides skirmished over the issue of construction of a gate on the Pakistani side.

The route was reopened for traffic after officials from both the sides met early on Saturday and the curfew was lifted at Torkham, Dawn online quoted security sources as saying.

The gate at Torkham will be named after Pakistan Army Major Ali Jawad Changezi, who died in Afghan firing, the sources said.

After the reopening of the broder people were thoroughly checked and only those with complete documentation were being allowed to enter the Pakistani side.

Thousands of people and transit trucks were stranded on both the sides due to the closure of the border.

Firing broke out on Sunday over the construction of a new border post on the Pakistani side.

An army officer was killed in Pakistan and an official reportedly died in Afghanistan, while civilians and officials were injured on both the sides.

Afghanistan summoned the Pakistani ambassador on Tuesday to register its protest at the violence. Similarly, Pakistan summoned the Afghan charge d’affaires in Islamabad on Monday.

The two countries, after diplomatic and military contacts a day earlier, agreed over ceasefire on Wednesday but there were disputed claims about the conditions on which the hostilities were to end.

Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal said the resumption of work on the gate was not agreed upon in the meeting with Pakistani officials. The envoy had threatened to quit if the construction work was not stopped.

Security sources said the construction of the gate continued on Saturday, which Pakistan said was being built to stop militants from crossing the border.

The border has long been porous and disputed. Afghanistan has blocked repeated attempts by Pakistan to build a fence on sections of the roughly 2,200-km-long frontier, rejecting the contours of the boundary.

The officials said the initiative of construction of the gate was the part of national action plan aiming to protect border. They said it will be in the favour of long-lasting peace in both the countries.

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