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Afghanistan asked Pakistan to re-open border

02 March, 2017

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Afghanistan has asked Pakistan to reopen the border and de-escalate tensions between the two neighbouring countries, read a press release issued on Wednesday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The release said Ambassador to Afghanistan Abrar Hussain and Afghan Deputy Commander-in-Chief General Murad Ali Murad met on Feb 27, and that Gen Murad had "requested [Islamabad] for de-escalation at the border and reopening of the crossing points between the two countries".

The crossings were shut two weeks ago following a string of bombings in Pakistan that the country's leadership blames on militants who sneak across the porous boundary to carry out attacks on its soil.

Gen Murad had also highlighted challenges "due to closure of the border and cross-border shelling from Pakistan", seeking the country's help to reduce tensions between the two states.

"He also promised to take action against terrorists on the basis of shared information," the statement added.

Ambassador Hussain, in his response, briefed Gen Murad about the circumstances motivating Pakistan's actions, underlining that "Afghan nationals were involved in recent attacks in the country". He stressed that Afghanistan should take appropriate measures to deny "use of its soil by terrorists against Pakistan".

Hussain said that the border was closed to prevent the movement of terrorists from across the border. He also stressed on the need for efforts by both countries to strengthen border management. The ambassador, however, promised to transmit Afghanistan's requests to Islamabad.

Afghanistan's envoy to Islamabad also appealed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for reopening the border crossings between their two countries.

Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal made the appeal to the Pakistani premier during his speech on Wednesday at the 10-nation Economic Cooperation Organisation summit held in Islamabad. Zakhilwal said the crossings' closure has caused hardship to the Afghan people.

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