After being closed for a week, Pakistan on Monday allowed commercial and human movement to resume at a crucial border crossing with the neighboring country of Afghanistan, according to officials. One of the two major border crossings between the two nations, the southwest Chaman border, was blocked on November 13 as a result of the murder of a Pakistani border troop by an armed Afghan. The Friendship Gate border crossing was reopened as a result of many “flag meetings” between the leaders of the two border forces. Aside from trade, thousands of individuals, mostly Afghans, enter the two neighboring countries every day for work and medical reasons. Even after the Taliban retook Afghanistan in August of last year, there have been ongoing clashes between the two border soldiers, mostly near the Chaman border.
Border tensions between the neighbors have increased since the Taliban retook control last year, with Pakistan charging that terrorist organizations were plotting strikes from Afghan territory. The Durand Line, a 2,700-kilometer (1,600-mile) boundary that was drawn up during colonial times and is currently being built by Islamabad, has angered the Taliban, who deny harboring Pakistani fighters. After an armed Afghan apparently infiltrated into Pakistan and fired on the security forces on Sunday, killing one soldier and injured two more, the southern Afghan province of Kandahar was shut down. Following the assault, border guards from Pakistan and Afghanistan exchanged fire for many hours, forcing the important commercial crossing between the two nations to be closed. The closure of the border highly affects the trade activities,
A request for response from the Pakistani military was not answered, but a Pakistani security official said that routine border management communication with Afghan authorities had taken place. The official also indicated that Pakistan will be informed in due course of the results of the Afghan investigations into last week’s hostilities. The Taliban administration in Afghanistan issued a statement last week condemning the incident and directing the issuance of a fact-finding body to look into it. Conflicts involving the extensive border have been a source of tension between the neighbors for many years.
Research Associate, Pakistan House