Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Pak-Afghan borders to be opened immediately: Nawaz Sharif

Boosting Pak-US relations Pakistan reopens border with Afghanistan after 1 month
Howard Terry | 21 March, 2017, 00:41

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered the country's two main border crossings with Afghanistan to reopen immediately.

Calling it a "goodwill gesture", Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered the opening of all the crossings along the boundary, considered the busiest and most lucrative border crossings in South Asia.

Pakistan had closed the border last month post a string of deadly militant attacks, which the military leadership claimed, were carried out by militants operating from safe havens in Afghanistan.

Noting that Pakistan had eliminated nearly all terrorist safe havens from FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas], Ambassador Chaudhary said the U.S. lawmakers and generals, who visited the region, also appreciated this achievement.

The statement said that, while the government had evidence that "anti-Pakistan elements" were present on Afghan soil, keeping the border closed was against the interests of ordinary people.

Pakistan has blamed the recent Lahore and Sehwan attacks on Afghan-based militants.

Pakistani soldiers check the identity of citizens returning from Afghanistan at the border town of Chaman, Pakistan, March 7, 2017.

The decision to reopen that border came after last week's meeting between Prime Minister's Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar in London. He said rising tensions between the two countries and the drawdown of US-led coalition forces had already caused a huge drop in exports to Afghanistan from $2.5 billion to $1.3 billion. The situation paralyzed the trade and severe economic losses on both sides of the demarcation line.

Attahullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor of the Afghan province of Nangarhar governor, said border talks are ongoing but the gates at Torkham haven't been opened yet. Clashes between PakisÂtani and Afghan security forces over the construction of the border gate a year ago left four soldiers dead on both sides, said the report.

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