QUETTA: The Pakistan-Afghan border at Chaman, Balochistan, remained closed for another day after a flag meeting at Friendship Gate between officials from both sides failed to evolve a consensus over the reopening of the crossing.

On Sunday, the border at Chaman had been closed for an indefinite period after an armed suspect from the Afg­han side opened fire on Pak­is­tani security personnel at Friendship Gate, resulting in the martyrdom of one soldier and injuries to two.

During the flag meeting, the Pakistani officials, inc­lu­ding Chaman DC Abdul Hameed Zehri, discussed with Afghan government officials the need for a “joint mechanism” to put an end to incidents of violence at the border. Pakistan also suggested joint interrogations by both sides to nab the accused involved in Sunday’s shooting.

“A joint mechanism would be evolved to stop such incidents in the future and both countries would cooperate in a probe in case of any future incident at the border,” a senior border security official told Dawn who attended the meeting.

Sources said the Afghan Taliban officials also exchanged suggestions with Pakistani authorities for running the border affairs in a smooth way. The issue of problems faced by Afghan women while crossing the border also came under discussion and the Afghan Taliban delegation suggested a separate route be set up where women security personnel should be posted by Pakistan.

It was decided to hold another flag meeting on Monday in which the possibility of reopening the border would be discussed and a decision would be taken. The meeting also discussed the suspension of trade between the two countries due to the closure of the Chaman border. Sources said negotiations in this regard were underway between Kabul and Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2022

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