Disputed Afghan-Pakistan border reopens after fighting leaves 4 dead
By Ahmad Sultan
NANGARHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) – The main crossing along Afghanistan’s disputed border with Pakistan reopened on Saturday after nearly a week of deadly clashes between the two countries’ security forces, officials said.
The fighting, which has killed at least four people, erupted at Torkham gate after the two sides disagreed over a Pakistani plan to build a new barrier at crossing.
Afghanistan rejects the colonial-era Durand Line border drawn up in 1893 and police along the border vowed to prevent the Pakistani project from going forward.
Officials on both sides said the crossing had reopened after Kabul and Islamabad reached an agreement.
“To reopen the pass, there were central and regional level negotiations,” Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Nangarhar provincial governor, said on Saturday.
Military reinforcements that had been sent to the area had been ordered to leave and cross-border traffic had returned to normal after having been stalled for a week, according to a Reuters witness in Afghanistan.
Thousands of vehicles normally pass through the crossing every week, making it a vital trade link between the countries.
As part of the agreement, officials said all Afghans would need official documents to pass into Pakistan.
Both sides accuse each other of harboring extremist groups that have launched attacks.
Afghanistan, struggling to contain a stubborn insurgency led by Taliban militants, blames Pakistan for harboring fighters and allied networks on its territory.
Pakistan denies it supports militants, and says it is building the gate at Torkham to stop the movement of militants coming the other way, from Afghanistan.
(Writing by Josh Smith; Editing by Kim Coghill)