Chaman border closed amid reports of Taliban capturing crossing on Afghan side

Published July 14, 2021
This file photo show the Friendship Gate on the Pakistan-Afghan border. — Dawn
This file photo show the Friendship Gate on the Pakistan-Afghan border. — Dawn

The Taliban on Wednesday claimed they had captured the strategic border crossing of Spin Boldak along the frontier with Pakistan, continuing sweeping gains made since foreign forces stepped up their withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“The Mujahideen have captured an important border town called Wesh in Kandahar,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson in a statement.

“With this, the important road between (Spin) Boldak and Chaman and Kandahar customs have come under Mujahideen control,” he said. Mujahid assured traders and residents there that their “security is guaranteed”.

However, the Afghan interior ministry insisted the attack had been repelled and government forces had control.

Meanwhile, when contacted for a comment, Chaman Assistant Commissioner Arif Kakar told Dawn.com that security was on high alert. "The Friendship Gate at the Chaman border has been closed," he said. No comment has been made so far from Pakistan regarding the capturing of the crossing.

The situation on the ground could not immediately be verified, but according to AFP, social media was abuzz with pictures of Taliban fighters looking relaxed in what appeared to be the frontier town.

The taking of Spin Boldak would be the latest in a string of border crossings and dry ports seized by the Taliban in recent weeks.

Its seizure follows days of heavy fighting across Kandahar province, where the government was forced to deploy commando fighters to prevent the fall of the provincial capital even as the insurgents inched closer to taking the frontier crossing.

Afghan officials insisted they still had control.

“The terrorist Taliban had some movements near the border area [...] The security forces have repelled the attack,” interior ministry spokesman Tareq Arian told AFP.

Residents disputed the Afghan government's claims.

“I went to my shop this morning and saw that the Taliban are everywhere. They are in the bazaar, in police HQ and custom areas. I can also hear the sound of fighting nearby,” said Raz Mohammad, a shopkeeper who works near the border.

Opinion

Editorial

A grave tragedy
Updated 08 Feb, 2023

A grave tragedy

It is hoped that Pakistan continues to send as many personnel and relief goods as needed to Turkiye, Syria.
Pharma shutdown
08 Feb, 2023

Pharma shutdown

IN the midst of an economic and political maelstrom, a fresh crisis threatens the availability of drugs in the...
PSL season
Updated 08 Feb, 2023

PSL season

PSL has provided a launching pad for several of the team’s current stars, and for them, hitting top form will be key.
No pardon for rape
Updated 07 Feb, 2023

No pardon for rape

Cultural filters and biases can often lead to faulty applications of the law.
Health insurance
07 Feb, 2023

Health insurance

THE planning ministry is reported to have raised objections to Punjab’s flagship universal health coverage...
The people’s demands
07 Feb, 2023

The people’s demands

AS the people of KP are literally on the frontline of the battle against terrorism and violent extremism, they are...