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.

Editorial

27 Nov 2021

Supporting ECP

ALTHOUGH the government bulldozed legislation on electronic voting machines through parliament, the reality is that...
27 Nov 2021

Forgiving the Taliban

IF there is one takeaway from Thursday’s gathering of more than 1,000 Shia Hazaras in Kabul, it is the call given...
27 Nov 2021

Living in fear

THE registration of a blasphemy case against four members of a family from a village on the outskirts of Lahore has...
26 Nov 2021

State Bank’s projections

THE macroeconomic projections listed by the State Bank of Pakistan in its annual report on the nation’s economy...
Ad distribution
Updated 26 Nov 2021

Ad distribution

If present govt can muster will to achieve this task it would set a solid precedent that no future govt would find easy to undo.
26 Nov 2021

Messy passengers

NEWS that passengers on a PIA flight from Manchester to Islamabad left so much litter on the plane that it led to a...