Pakistan postpones reopening of border crossing with Afghanistan

Ghulam Khan border, shut in June of 2014 after security forces launched an operation against Taliban, will continue to remain shut 'indefinitely.'

Pakistan postpones reopening of border crossing with Afghanistan
File photo courtesy Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday postponed the long-awaited reopening of a key border crossing with Afghanistan for unknown reasons, officials said.

Ghulam Khan border, the third major crossing point with Afghanistan in North Waziristan tribal region, was closed in June 2014 after the security forces launched a major operation against the Taliban militants and their foreign hosts in that area.

An official told Xinhua that it was planned to reopen the border on trial basis for a week on March 7 for trade and people, however, it was postponed for an indefinite period. He did not give any specific reason.

However, sources said Pakistani side needs more time to ensure the immigration, custom and other facilities are available at the time of the border reopening.

Pakistan had introduced passport and visa system for those who enter Pakistan in 2016 via Torkham, the biggest crossing between the two countries. Officials say the same system will also be introduced at Chaman, the second largest point, and other notified crossings.

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Officials say the Ghulam Khan border point, which will have modern facilities, could become the biggest trade route as the containers that bring Afghan transit goods from Karachi port would use this crossing instead of Torkham.

North Waziristan border Afghanistan`s eastern Khost province and Pakistani trucks could move up to Kabul and other cities but it depends on the understanding between the two countries. Current political tensions have badly affected bilateral and transit trade.

Pakistan and Afghanistan signed a transit agreement in the 1960s and revised it in 2010 to allow landlocked Afghanistan to import through Karachi port.