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Thousands of Afghans stranded in Pakistan cross Torkham border

By Ashrafuddin Pirzada
April 08, 2020

LANDIKOTAL: Thousands of Afghan nationals stranded in Pakistan crossed the Torkham border on the second day of relaxation, sources said on Tuesday.

They said a large number of Afghans who wanted to cross the border had come from various cities of Pakistan and stayed overnight near the border. Thousands of others reached the border on the second day. It was a big challenge for the officials to check documents and other travel requirements of the travelers. “As the border gate was reopened on the second day, thousands of people, most of them youngsters, flocked to the point leaving the queues in bid to enter Afghanistan”, said a health worker at the border point, adding everyone was in a hurry and wanted to cross the border as soon as possible.

He said as the number of the travelers increased to thousands gradually, they skipped a formal documents checking and entered the native country. A rough data collected from various unofficial sources suggested that over 10,000 people had crossed the border in the last two days. To reduce the passengers’ flow on the Torkham border crossin the police had stopped hundreds of Afghan nationals at Takhtabaig, Bagyari, Prangsum and Michni checkposts on the Peshawar-Torkham Highway.

However, hundreds of other Afghan nationals, including men and women, were seen walking on foot the hilly routes to by-pass the police checking points and reach the border.

Police, residents and philanthropists had arranged food and drinking water for those Afghan citizens who stayed at mosques, tunnels, hotels and other shelters while waiting for the border opening. The sources on the other side of the border, confirmed, that the Afghan border officials were also unable to control the crowd coming from Pakistan and put them into tented coronavirus isolation centres. The Afghan officials said most of the tents established to quarantine those coming from Pakistan had been set ablaze the previous night. They said lack of facilities and none availability of proper space to quarantine forced the people to leave for homes in Afghanistan instead of remaining there.