Pakistan PM orders reopening of Afghanistan border

Pakistan PM orders reopening of Afghanistan border

Pakistan PM orders reopening of Afghanistan border

Pakistan's prime minister has ordered the reopening of the country's border with Afghanistan, ending a protracted closure that has cost businesses on both sides millions of dollars and deepened tensions between the two neighbours.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced the reopening of Pakistan's border with Afghanistan after a month-long closure due to rise in tensions between the two neighboring countries.

Afghan Ambassador, Omar Zakhilwal, also urged the PM to re-open the border since it affected the interests and economies of both the countries.

" The statement said "it has been chose to re-open the border as a good-will gesture with immediate effect, with the hope that the Government of Afghanistan would take the necessary steps, required to address the reasons, that led to closure of the border".

The crossings - Torkham at the famed Khyber Pass, and Chaman in Balochistan province - were closed last month after a wave of militant violence killed 130 people across Pakistan.

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Sharif hoped the Afghan government would address the reasons that led to the closure of the border. Tensions along the frontier have been simmering for months, after hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees in Pakistan were repatriated past year, with Human Rights Watch accusing Islamabad of coercion, threats and abuse.

Islamabad had reopened border crossings in between for two days - on March 7 and 8 - "to provide an opportunity to such hundreds of civilians stranded on both sides of the border".

But Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, argued that closing it served no goal "except to harm ordinary people and traders on both sides".

With traders resorting to the same routes as arms smugglers and insurgents to get perishable goods into Afghanistan, high food prices will remain high until Pakistan relents, Alokozay said.

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