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Kabul hopes Tajikistan border to reopen soon

31 July, 2012

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KABUL: Afghanistan voiced the hope that Tajikistan would soon reopen the border crossings it sealed last week due to a military operation to detain a former warlord.

On Tuesday, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon ordered an offensive in the autonomous region of Gorno-Badakhshan against supporters of Talib Aiombekov, charged with killing a senior security official.

Tajik authorities sealed off the border after eight Afghan militants, who were fighting for Aiombekov, were captured by security personnel. They fear Taliban-linked insurgents were sneaking into the former Soviet republic to support the ex-warlord.

A foreign ministry spokesman, addressing a weekly media briefing in Kabul on Sunday, hoped the border would reopen once the security operation came to an end.

Janan Musazai referred to a recent visit by senior Afghan officials, including Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi and the National Directorate of Security chief, to Dushanbe. The delegation assured their Tajik interlocutors of all-out help in enforcing security and defeating terrorists.

Military officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan would meet soon on ways of effectively preventing cross-border incursions into eastern parts of the country, the spokesman said.

Musazai said that army commanders from the two countries would meet in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar, to sort out the issue.

However, he gave no specific date for the meeting.

Musazai quoted President Hamid Karzai as saying that problems occasionally erupted in areas along the border, known as Durand Line. But attacks from the neighbouring country were in no way acceptable to Afghanistan, he hastened to add.

The foreign ministry had been doing all it could at the diplomatic level to put a permanent halt to the incursions, he said, recalling last week's protest that was lodged with Islamabad on continued missile and rocket strikes.

Deputy Foreign Minister Javed Lodin communicated Afghanistan's concerns over the incursions to Pakistan Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq. The National Security Council also took up the issue at last week's meeting, chaired by President Karzai.

End.

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