Chaman-Spin Boldak border reopens after 27 days

Move comes after successful talks between the two governments


Mohammed Zafar November 03, 2021
Chaman border. PHOTO: AFP

QUETTA:

The Pakistan and Afghanistan governments reopened the Chaman-Spin Boldak border crossing separating the neighboring countries on Tuesday, 27 days after the Taliban had closed it.

This move comes following successful talks between Pakistani and Afghan authorities a day earlier.

“The border is opened for all kind of traffic and the people for crossing into Pakistan and Afghanistan,” a senior security border official said, adding that the border was opened 8am without any break till 5pm as Afghan authorities had removed all huge boulders and other barricades they had placed on the border.

Thousands of Pakistani and Afghan citizens who were waiting to go back to their home countries crossed the border after completing the proper procedure devised by both the governments. “Only citizens of Chaman and Qila Abdullah in Pakistan apart from Kandahar citizens will be able to cross the border after confirming their identity through their national ID cards,” immigration officials said, adding that huge numbers of people from both sides crossed the border.

With the reopening of the border, traffic including trucks carrying goods also resumed journey. “Hundreds of trucks crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan and into Afghan areas after customs clearance,” customs officials said, adding that both the countries were deprived of customs duties and other taxes amounting to millions of rupees when the border was closed.

The Taliban authorities in Kandahar had closed the border with Pakistan on October 5 without informing the Pakistani border authorities about the issues pertaining to border crossing without travelling documents. They had placed heavy cement blocks and boulders at the entry points.

Read Pak-Afghan border closure hits hard 50,000 traders

However, several rounds of talks between the officials of both the countries were held in Chaman and Spin Boldak but remained fruitless as the Kandahar Governor Yousaf Wafa insisted that Afghan nationals should be allowed to cross into Pakistan without valid traveling documents.

Thousands of Pakistanis and Afghan citizens including patients were stuck on both sides of the border.

The business community and All Parties Traders Alliance staged protest many times and blocked the Quetta-Chaman National Highway against the closure of the Pak-Afghan border.

Vice President Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Imran Khan Kakar welcomed the decision, saying that the people involved in trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan suffered a substantial loss of millions of rupees due to the border closure for 27 days.

He further said business leaders also participated along with Pakistani border authorities during the final talks.

Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo also expressed happiness over the reopening of the Friendship Gate at the Chaman border, saying that the reopening would boost Pak-Afghan bilateral trade, especially in Chaman.

"Economic activity will increase," the CM said. “People on both sides of the border would benefit from the free movement of people.”

Bizenjo said resumption of economic activities was necessary and role of the border was important in the economy of the border areas.

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