Afghan, Pakistani officials hug each other after six days of hostility and offer prayers for dead soldiers; curfew lifted in border areas
LANDIKOTAL: Pakistan reopened its border with Afghanistan at Torkham after six days of closure during which the security forces of the two countries clashed over the reinstallation of a gate on the Pakistani side of the border.
The authorities also lifted the curfew imposed in Torkham and Landikotal due to the tense situation in the area following firing by the Afghan forces with light and heavy weapons.
Assistant Political Agent for Landikotal Rahimullah Mahsud told The News that they had conveyed the message of reopening the Torkham border to the Afghan officials in the morning.
He said the message was conveyed by Major Tauqeer of the Frontier Corps and Torkham Tehsildar Ghuncha Gul to their Afghan counterparts.
Afghan border security chief Colonel Nisar Khan Shinwari thanked the Pakistani officials for the generous step, as it had reduced tension between the two brotherly Muslim countries.
Quoting Colonel Nisar Shinwari, Rahimullah Mahsud said thousands of passengers had been stranded on the Afghan side of the border.
He said the Afghan officials had requested to allow trucks carrying fruit, flour and other eatables via Torkham as prices of these commodities had skyrocketed in the last six days in Afghanistan.
Rahimullah Mahsud said as a goodwill gesture, the Afghan and Pakistani officials hugged each other at the Torkham border and offered prayers for the departed souls of the Afghan soldier and the Pakistan Army Major Ali Jawad who were martyred in the exchange of fire four days ago.
He dismissed rumours about an agreement between the two countries and said Pakistan had not yet inked any deal with Afghanistan.
However, he said work on the construction of the gate at Torkham would continue.
Rahimullah Mahsud said the offices of the Pakistan Customs, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and National Logistics Cell (NLC) had reopened and resumed work.
Meanwhile, a good number of Afghan citizens having valid travel documents crossed the Torkham border and arrived in Peshawar.
On the other hand, hundreds of trucks carrying goods stranded in Khyber Agency started their journey towards Afghanistan.
Shopkeepers, daily wagers and traders who had suffered losses due to the closure of the busy border rushed to Torkham after learning about the reopening of the Pak-Afghan border.
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