PESHAWAR: The Pak-Afghan border in Chaman was reopened for pedestrians on Friday after a week’s closure.
On Thursday, unrest was reported from the border as frustrated people gathered at the border were unable to cross it, an Afghan elderly person also reportedly died at the border due to heart attack, which further infuriated the people and they clashed with the security forces. There were no casualties in the clash. There were around 10,000 protesters at the gate on Thursday and they increased three-fold a day later.
Deputy Commissioner Jumma Dad Khan said the border is open for pedestrians from both sides. Customs officials said bilateral trade is also continuing through Bab-e-Dosti. Sources said the return journey of Pakistani trucks stranded in Afghanistan has also started.
Due to increasing pressure, the Pakistani authorities allowed the movement of pedestrians on Friday. The Taliban militants had closed the Chaman-Speen Boldak border crossing point on August 06 over certain visa requirements for Afghans entering Pakistan. The Taliban on July 14 had seized control of the Afghan side of the border, called Wesh, at the Chaman crossing, which led to the Pakistani authorities shutting the border crossing immediately over fears that militants could enter the country.
A few days later, the Pakistani authorities opened the border after an understanding with insurgents. But the Taliban imposed different taxes on people entering from Pakistan to Afghanistan which further led to unrest. Now the people faced double trouble as they had to pay taxes to Afghan government and Taliban as well.
Chaman is the second largest border point between the two countries and provides the landlocked Afghanistan road access to the sea port in Karachi. According to official data, around 1,000 commercial trucks cross through the point daily.
After the Taliban capture of the border crossing, the number of truck transits had reduced to 100 per day.
A large number of people were stranded on both sides of the border due to its closure. Many Afghans had gathered in Chaman in a hope of getting green signal for crossing the border. The stranded people took a sigh of relief after reopening of the border.