QUETTA: Pakistan on Monday reopened its border with Afghanistan at Chaman, resuming regular Afghan transit and other legal trade activities.
The border was closed by Pakistani authorities after Taliban captured the Afghan border district of Spin Boldak and Wesh following fierce fighting with the Afghan National Army in the second week of the current month.
The capture of the border town caused suspension of all trade and traffic between the two countries.
Hundreds of trucks carrying Afghan transit trade goods were stuck in Chaman. They brought transit goods from Karachi and Gwadar sea ports.
The deputy commissioner of Chaman, retired Captain Jumma Dad Mandokhail, said recently that the border would be reopened for trade as business leaders of both the countries were demanding reopening of the major border crossing as they were facing huge losses due to the border closure.
“Pakistan has reopened its border with Afghanistan at Chaman, resuming Afghan transit trade and other legal business activities,” Arif Kakar, a senior official of the Chaman district administration, told Dawn. Soon after opening the border, trucks loaded with goods started crossing it after completing customs formalities, he added.
“The border will remain open for six days a week,” he said.
Customs officials posted at the Chaman border said that a large number of trucks crossed into Afghanistan after opening of the border and completing customs formalities, including payment of customs duties and other taxes.
Officials in Chaman told Dawn that Wesh, an Afghan entry point, was still under the control of Taliban, who had captured the border district Spin Boldak early this month.
They said Afghan nationals, who were stranded in Pakistan after the border town was captured by Taliban, were allowed to cross into their country on production of documents.
“Around 7,000 Afghan nationals, including women, children and patients, went back to their country during the past two weeks,” they said, adding that Pakistanis who were stranded in Afghanistan were also returning home.
The business leaders from both sides welcomed the Pakistan government’s decision about reopening of the border for resuming trade activities and said that they have suffered huge losses due to suspension of trade.
Haji Jalat Khan, president of Chaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said that the CCCI made strenuous efforts to revive border trade by contacting many senior officials.
Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2021