Pakistan temporarily reopens its Afghan border

Pakistan temporarily reopens its Afghan borderThousands of Afghans gathered at the Pakistani border to return home as Pakistan temporarily reopened two main crossings that had been closed last month after a wave of militant attacks, Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

The Torkham and Chaman crossings were to remain open through Wednesday for nationals from both countries with valid visas who want to return home, a measure intended to calm tensions and ease a backlog.

Fayyaz Khan, a Pakistani official at Torkham, said large numbers of Afghans were returning home, along with smaller groups of Pakistanis, but that overland trade between the two countries has yet to resume.

Pakistan shut the crossings three weeks ago after a wave of suicide bombings that authorities said was linked to Islamic militants based in Afghanistan. The two countries have long accused each other of ignoring al-Qaida and other militants who operate along the porous, mountainous border.

Khairullah Azad, the deputy spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Ministry, urged Pakistan to restore normal movement at the crossings, saying the two-day reopening was insufficient for people living on both sides of the frontier.

The opening of the crossings came a day after Pakistan said a group of militants crossed over from Afghanistan and attacked several military posts, setting off clashes that killed six soldiers and 10 militants. It said it had complained about the attack to Kabul and called on Afghanistan to take action.
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