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Chaman border crossing opens for an hour

Hundreds of stranded Pakistanis, Afghans return to their countries

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 19, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Posted: Oct 19, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

FILE PHOTO. Chaman border

The Chaman border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan opened on Tuesday but only for an hour.

The window allowed over 800 Afghans stranded in Pakistan to return to their country, Pakistani officials in Chaman said.

Similarly, hundreds of Pakistanis stranded in Afghanistan were allowed back in, they added.

The Bab-e-Dosti or Friendship Gate was closed after one hour.

The two main border crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Torkhan and Chaman have been closed on and off since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August.

The Chaman border crossing has been closed for two weeks now.

The closure of the Chaman border crossing has affected Pakistani exporters who staged a protest in Chaman on Friday.

Pakistani officials say the Taliban government officials closed the border crossing unilaterally.

The Taliban have issued no official statement.

In August, the Taliban demanded that Afghan nationals be allowed to enter Pakistan without a visa after showing only the Tazkira (the Afghan identity card). Pakistan allowed Afghans to enter the country on Tazkira after the Taliban closed the Chaman border crossing for a week.

Balochistan Interior Minister Ziaullah Langove later said that Pakistan would not allow Afghan nationals to enter the country illegally.

However, the recent border closure comes for a completely different reason.

A large number of Afghan nationals willing to leave their country to escape the Taliban rule have reportedly used the Torkham and Chaman border crossings to enter Pakitan for an onward journey to other destinations or to live in the country.

The Taliban have now tightened the border control to prevent people from going “overseas,” a report by the Guardian suggests.

Their decision has caused sufferings for critically ill Afghans seeking medical treatment in Pakistan, it said.

Thousands of Afghans have regularly crossed into Pakistan to seek medical treatment for years.

However, after the border closure by the Taliban and Pakistan’s decision to allow only visa holders to cross, Afghans have faced hardship. Last week, a young Afghan girl and her male cousin perished while trying to cross into Pakistan through a mountain path. They were not permitted to cross either Chaman or Torkham border checkpoints, the family said.

On Sunday Pakistan allowed nearly a thousand Afghan students to cross the Torkhan border crossing into Pakistan.

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