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51,000 Afghans,4,900 Pakistanis crossed Afhagn border

09 March, 2017

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LANDI KOTAL/QUETTA: Over 32,000 Afghans and 2,700 Pakistanis crossed into their respective countries via the Torkham and Chaman crossing points on Wednesday — the last day of reopening of the border with Afghanistan.

In two days, over 51,000 Afghans and 4,900 Pakistanis returned to their respective countries after the Pakistan government reopened the border crossings on Tuesday.

At Torkham, the Frontier Corps in collaboration with the political administration made elaborate security and immigration arrangements in order to facilitate swift and speedy return of Afghans and also to avoid the Tuesday-like situation when the frustrated people broke security barriers and crushed to death an Afghan woman in their desperation to cross the border.

Female FC personnel were also deputed at the border to help guide returning Afghan women and their children. Male personnel were also deployed at a number of locations to regulate the process of immigration of returning Afghans.

According to officials, 11,500 Afghans crossed the border on Wednesday and 12,539 on Tuesday. About 700 Pakistanis returned home in two days.

Taxis taking the Afghan nationals to the Torkham border were stopped at three points to avoid rush and traffic congestion.

Rules about legal travel documents for the returning Afghans were also relaxed and they were allowed to go back even by showing their national identity cards. Same rules were also applied for Pakistanis who got stuck on the Afghan side after the closure of the border on Feb 17.

Taxi owners, who had lost their business to the nearly three weeks of border closure, had a field day on Tuesday and Wednesday as they ferried thousands of Afghans from different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas to the Torkham border.

The Afghans waiting in long queues at the Torkham crossing expressed mixed feelings about reopening of the border and their return journey.

Amanullah of Jalalabad said that though he was happy to go back home after 18 days of painful wait, the Pakistan government’s decision to close the border again was even more painful for most of his countrymen.

Transporters stranded on the Pakistani side too were not happy with the decision to disallow trade goods to across the border.

According to officials, 20,870 Afghans crossed into their country, while 2,631 Pakistanis returned home via the Chaman border crossing. In two days, 27,718 Afghans went back to Afghanistan and 4,277 Pakistanis retuned to Chaman.

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