CHAMAN: Pakistan will reopen its border crossing with Afghanistan for routine traffic today (Thursday), after Afghanistan submitted a written apology for an August 18 incident where the national flag was desecrated by Afghan citizens.
The citizens of both the countries welcomed reopening of Bab-e-Dosti Gate. ‘Pakistan zindabad’ slogans were raised at the time of opening. Trade activities resumed after two weeks of suspension.
Media reports said that the 15th flagship meeting between the Pakistani authorities and Afghan authorities was held on Wednesday. The Pakistani side was led by Lt-Col Muhammad Changaiz, while the Afghan contingent was headed by Col Muhammad Ali.
The Afghan side apologized over the incident and stated that it had resulted from the actions of enemies of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Col Changaiz said that the Afghan apology was an important development and added that the Bab-e-Dosti Gate would be opened on Thursday at 8am.
The situation at the Pak-Afghan border had remained tense as the border had been closed for 14 consecutive days after Afghan citizens staged an anti-Pakistan demonstration on their side and some angry protesters attacked the border gate and burned a Pakistani flag, according to officials in Islamabad.
A spokesman for the Frontier Corps (FC) cited “successful negotiations” between senior Pakistani and Afghan border authorities for agreeing to resume the traffic.
An official Pakistani statement said Afghan negotiators “condemned the August 18 incident” and promised to take preventive measures in future.
The two sides agreed to “pay due respect to each other’s testimonials” and hold a monthly flag meeting to address issues of mutual interest for ensuring a peaceful environment.
Afghan and Pakistani traders said the border closure caused them millions of dollars in losses and urged both the governments to take steps to ensure uninterrupted movement in both directions.
There are four regular crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan along their 2,600-kilometre frontier.
But the Chaman and the northwestern Torkham border posts serve as the two main crossings for trade and travelers.
An estimated 50,000 people, mostly Afghans, travel across the two facilities each day in addition to hundreds of trucks carrying trading goods to landlocked Afghanistan.
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