Afghan govt shutdown border post amid row with Pak

Last Updated: Monday, December 7, 2009 - 23:50

Peshawar: The Afghanistan government on Monday
closed the Torkham post along the frontier with Pakistan as a
reaction to a decision by authorities here to restrict the
movement of illegal borders crossers.

Afghan authorities did not allow anyone from the
Pakistani side to cross the border.
Earlier the Pakistan government had restricted the
movement of illegal border crossers at Torkham and allowed
only persons with legal documents to cross over.

Truckers carrying supplies to NATO and US forces in
Afghanistan and consignments of the Afghan government were
permitted to cross by Pakistani authorities.

The closure by the Afghan authorities lasted an hour
and a huge crowd gathered on both sides of the border.

As the situation took a turn for the worse, border
officials of both sides met for brief discussions and agreed
to address the matter.

Afghan officials informed their Pakistani counterparts
of problems and hardships faced by their people due to the
closure of the border crossing.
They demanded the relaxation of regulations and said
the Pakistani government should implement its policies
gradually.

The Pakistani officials said their actions had been
influenced by security concerns. They pointed out that
security had been beefed along the border from Shelman to
Sasubi sectors.

Officials here also said that all persons possessing
legal documents, including Pakistani nationals with identity
cards and Afghans with identity papers issued by Pakistani
authorities, were allowed to enter Pakistan.

Passport official Abdul Wahid Afridi said 700 Afghans
had entered Pakistan using their passports while 15,000 to
16,000 people crossed without documents in recent days.

The closing of the border crossing caused a lot of
suffering to people on both sides, especially tribal traders.
Local trader Khanzad Gul said business on both sides was the
only source of livelihood for many families.

PTI



First Published: Monday, December 7, 2009 - 23:50

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