LANDI KOTAL: The border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Torkham, which was closed on Friday, was reopened on Saturday following a flag meeting attended by military and civilian officials of the two countries.
The meeting lasted for several hours and thorny issues relating to security were discussed in detail, sources said.
Pakistan had closed the crossing after two grenade attacks from Afghanistan on Frontier Corps (FC) check posts near the border. Six FC personnel and three civilians had been injured in the explosions.
Officials told Dawn that Afghan delegation was shown closed-circuit television footage of the two blasts which clearly showed that the grenades were hurled from the Afghan side.
The Afghan delegation was reminded that Pakistan was making all-out efforts to facilitate the Afghans, including students studying in Pakistani educational institutions, to cross the border in a smooth manner.
The Afghan officials were told that Pakistan would further improve its security situation by expediting the fencing of the border, building concrete walls where necessary, increasing the number of surveillance cameras along it and establishing more security posts, the sources said. It was learnt that for its part the Afghan delegation objected to what it called “unprovoked firing” by Pakistani border guards at Afghan check posts near the border.
The Pakistani officials rejected the allegations and insisted that their personnel had always reacted to Afghan forces’ aggression with a fair degree of restraint.
The sources added that members of the Afghan delegation expressed displeasure over repeated closure of the border crossing because doing so caused monetary losses to traders on both sides of the border. Sick and elderly Afghans also suffered as a result.
The Pakistani delegation comprised Sector Commander Brig Arshad, Khyber Rifles Commandant Farrukh Humayun, Lt Col Mubashir, Assistant Political Agent Niaz Muhammad and retired Col Iftikhar of the National Logistics Cell.
From the Afghan side Col Qasim, Col Nisar and Gate Commander Ghorghande attended the flag meeting.
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2017