Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal on Saturday said that the border crossings closed by Pakistan in the aftermath of a string of militant attacks will be opened provisionally later on the same day.

The envoy also said in that the border will likely be opened completely within the next 3-4 days.

In the statement, posted to his Facebook account, Zakhilwal also advised Afghans to avoid travelling to Pakistan without proper travel documents.

The envoy said on Thursday that he had written to the Pakistani military leadership to seek the reopening of border crossings.

Pakistan's de facto foreign minister, Sartaj Aziz, in a press conference held on Saturday said the country's border with Afghanistan could not remain closed indefinitely.

The borders were closed in light of security concerns, he said. However, he desisted from providing a timeframe for when the closure would be relaxed.

The closure of the border crossings was ordered by Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Feb 16, hours after militants struck Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine in Sehwan, killing 90.

All traffic between the two countries remained suspended since then, creating logistical difficulties for landlocked Afghanistan, which conducts most of its external trade through Pakistan.

A large number of Afghan nationals were also stranded in Pakistan by the decision.

Pakistan has frequently used border closure to expr­e­ss its annoyance with Afghanistan on different issues.

This time, the military closed the crossings to pressurise Kabul to take action against terror outfits that it accuses of taking up sanctuary on Afghan soil and directing attacks from there.



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