Pakistan closes border with Afghanistan

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Islamabad, May 13 (IANS) Pakistan said on Thursday that it has closed its border with Afghanistan “to implement border control measures”.

Pakistani authorities closed the border on Tuesday after the Afghan forces prevented Pakistan’s plan to fence the border to stop illegal cross-border movement, Xinhua reported.

Afghan ambassador in Islamabad, Omar Zakhilwal, also confirmed border closure at Torkham and said talks between Pakistani and Afghan officials to reopen it failed on Thursday.

Thousands of people and many trucks are stranded on both sides of the border, witnesses in the area said.

“Illegal crossings and other associated issues are major challenges for both countries. To address the situation, the government of Pakistan has decided to implement border control measures at Torkham for effective border management,” the foreign ministry said in Islamabad.

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“It is in the interest of both countries to have a well-regulated border. There were differences between the two sides on implementation of measures to manage and regulate the border, due to which the border has been temporarily closed,” ministry spokesman Nafees Zikriya said.

He said both sides are in contact with each other through military to military channel to address this issue.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have nearly 2,600 kms of border, mostly porous, and the illegal crossing has always been a source of tension between the two countries.

Kabul’s ambassador in Islamabad said that Afghan defence and interior ministry officials held talks with a Pakistani delegation to solve the Torkham problem. However, the talks ended without any result and the border remained closed for the third day.

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