PESHAWAR: The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Torkham reopened on Saturday, after a closure of nearly six days during which the two sides skirmished over the issue of construction of a gate on the Pakistani side of the border.

The historic trade route was reopened for traffic after officials from both countries met early Saturday and the curfew was lifted at Torkham, security sources said.

The under construction gate at Torkham will be named after Major Ali Jawad, who died in Afghan firing, they added.

After the lifting of curfew, people are being thoroughly checked and those with complete travelling documentation are being allowed to enter Pakistan at Torkham. Thousands of people and transit trucks have been stranded on both sides due to the border closure

Firing between Pakistani and Afghan forces first broke out on Sunday at the crossing, about 45 kilometres west of Peshawar, over the construction of a new border post on the Pakistani side. An army officer was killed in Pakistan and two officials reportedly died in Afghanistan, while civilians and officials were wounded on both sides.

Afghanistan summoned the Pakistani ambassador on Tuesday to register its protest at the violence. Similarly, Pakistan summoned the Afghan charge d'affaires in Islamabad on Monday.

An illustration provided by the ISPR shows the Torkham border gate is 37 metres inside Pakistani territory.
An illustration provided by the ISPR shows the Torkham border gate is 37 metres inside Pakistani territory.

The two countries had, after diplomatic and military contacts a day earlier, agreed over ceasefire on Wednesday but there were disputed claims about the conditions on which the hostilities were to end.

Afghan Ambassador Dr Omar Zakhilwal claimed that the resumption of work on the gate was not agreed upon in the meeting he held with Pakistani officials. The envoy had threatened to quit and return to his home country if the construction work was not stopped.

Security sources said the construction of the gate continued on Saturday, which Pakistan has said is being built to stop militants from crossing the border.

The Pakistan-Afghanistan border has long been porous and disputed. Afghanistan has blocked repeated attempts by Pakistan to build a fence on sections of the roughly 2,200-km-long frontier, rejecting the contours of the boundary.

Afghan mission chief calls on COAS

Gen Nicholson in meeting with COAS Gen Raheel. —ISPR
Gen Nicholson in meeting with COAS Gen Raheel. —ISPR

The commander of Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan Gen John Nicholson called on the Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif at General Headquarters on Saturday.

During the meeting, regional security issues and matters of mutual interest were discussed, said an ISPR communique. Border management mechanism along the Pak-Afghan border also came up during the meeting.

With additional reporting by Mateen Haider in Islamabad.

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