Pakistan reopens Spin Boldak-Chaman crossing after border shooting

A week after closing its Chaman border crossing with Afghanistan, Pakistan reopened the key port to trade and pedestrian movement.

The Spin Boldak-Chaman crossing was closed a week ago after a Pakistani Frontier Force member was shot dead and two others were wounded by a Taliban border guard.

The shooting on Nov. 13 resulted in the closure of the border, which is also known as Friendship Gate, causing heavy losses to traders and stranding thousands of people on both sides.

Taliban expressed regret over the incident vowing to conduct a “thorough probe” into the incident but did not confirm the involvement of its members in the incident.

Quoted by Associated Press, Abdul Majeed Zehri, a Pakistani government administrator in Chaman in southwestern Baluchistan province, said on Monday that the decision to reopen the border came after talks with Afghan officials.

They are searching for the attacker, he said, adding that Taliban officials also expressed grief and sorrow over the killing of the Pakistani border guard.

It is not clear so far what prompted the attacker to open fire at Pakistani guards, but a Taliban member told Amu on Nov. 14 that the “mistreatment” of Pakistani border forces with Afghan passengers provoked the incident.

A Taliban commissioner in Spin Boldak crossing, Noor ul-Baqi, said the border crossing was reopened on condition that further security measures be implemented on both sides of the border.

“Now, people can freely pass through the crossing,” he said.

At least 45,000 people cross through the gate on a daily basis, according to figures provided by Taliban officials.

Afghans stuck in Pakistan claimed that the Pakistani forces’ treatment of the people “is fair and good.”

“The two sides should take this into consideration that the crossing should not remain shut and it should be opened for passengers,” said Nek Mohammad, a returnee from Pakistan.

“Our demand is that the route should remain open,” said another returnee, Abdullah.

The Kandahar Chamber of Commerce said that the closure of the gate incurred losses to Afghan traders who send their products to Pakistan or import goods from the neighboring country.