KHYBER AGENCY/Quetta - Only 3,000 stranded Afghan citizens crossed into Afghanistan through Torkham and Chaman crossings on Tuesday following the border gates were reopened after 18 days.

An official of Khyber Rifles said following decision of the government, Torkham border was reopened at 7 am and thousands of Afghan nationals stranded in Pakistan were let cross into Afghanistan.

According to BBC, only 3,000 could cross into Afghanistan.

On Monday, the government had announced reopening of Torkham and Chaman borders for two days to facilitate Afghan nationals stuck in Pakistan to move back to their country.

The relaxation of border crossing was granted to pedestrians only and commodities’ transportation or vehicular movement was still restricted at Torkham, the official confirmed. He further said those Afghan citizens having legal travelling documents including passport and visa were permitted to move to their motherland.

In the same way, from Afghan side, Pakistanis with passports were allowed to cross into Pakistan. However, according to the official, entry of Afghan citizens in Pakistan was banned regardless of having valid documents.

Levies’ official Hikmat Afridi said after the news of reopening of the border was aired, thousands of Afghans, male and female, thronged the border gate. Additional troops of Frontier Corps along with Khasadars had been posted at Michini checkpost, five miles away from the border, who checked the passports of Afghan passengers, he maintained. He said the passport holders were allowed to approach the border while those who had no proper documents were sent back from the checkpoint.

The restrained policy had affected thousands of Afghan citizens who had been seeking permission to move to their country.

Razi Gul, a driver and resident of Nangarhar province of Afghanistan who was refused by the border security officials to cross the border, said days back he had taken his relatives’ child to Peshawar for medical treatment by paying Rs2,000 fine at the border, but now the authorities were not allowing him to go back.

As per details provided by tehsildar passport Shamsul Islam, only 2,300 Afghan citizens had returned to Afghanistan while 500 Pakistanis crossed into Pakistan at Torkham. He added that till 8 pm, the repatriation process would continue and efforts would be made to make possible the return of all stranded Afghans.

At Chaman, officials reopened the two key crossing points. “The crossing point with Afghanistan – which was sealed for every sort of movement – has now reopened at the Friendship Gate in Chaman for outflow of only pedestrians and it will resume till Wednesday,” said sources in Balochistan Frontier Corps.

The crossing point will remain open from 8am to 5pm for only those stranded people who have legal papers of travelling; although, the trade activities including Pak-Afghan Transit Trade and NATO supply remained suspended.

On Tuesday, hundreds of stranded passengers on both sides crossed the border.

 

AFGHAN WOMAN DIES IN STAMPEDE AT TORKHAM

 

An Afghanistan-bound Afghan woman died due to stampede near National Logistic Cell terminal at Torkham border on Tuesday, political administration official said.

The official while confirming the news said Afghan citizen Noor Zia, wife of Ahmadullah, belonging to Perwan province of Afghanistan, was on her way to Afghanistan with her family following resumption of pedestrian movement at Torkham border when she fell down and died due to the stampede.

The cause of untoward incident was stated to be massive rush of people returning to Afghanistan, who had gathered at the clearing point. After necessary clearing, her dead body was handed over to Afghanistan border security officials, the official said.

 

 

3,000 stranded Afghans cross border