QUETTA: After gaining consent from Afghan Taliban, Pakistan opened the border crossing in Chaman on Thursday for three hours to allow citizens of both countries, who had been stuck on both sides of the border due to its closure by Pakistan after Taliban captured Wesh and other areas, to return to their countries.
Government officials in Chaman town confirmed the opening of the border saying the decision was taken on humanitarian grounds as hundreds of people, including women, children and patients, had been stranded on both sides of the border.
“Around 800 Afghans, including patients, crossed into Afghanistan through Friendship Gate, while some 160 Pakistanis, who were stranded in Wesh, were allowed to enter Pakistani territory,” a senior official of local administration told Dawn, adding that the border remained open for three hours only for pedestrians.
It has not yet been decided whether the border would be opened on Friday, the border authorities said.
Meanwhile, Taliban fighters have consolidated their positions in Wesh and other areas of Spin Boldak district of Afghanistan after taking control of all important check-posts around the captured towns along Pak-Afghan border, according to reports reaching here.
Offices of Afghan government have also been taken over by the Taliban forces. “We can see armed Taliban sitting at Friendship Gate on Afghan side while hoisting the Taliban flag,” an official of Levies Force said when reached on phone.
He said the Taliban had removed the national flag of Afghanistan from the Friendship Gate and official buildings in Wesh town.
Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2021