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    Pak-Afghan Border Reopens for Trade

    CountriesAfghanistanPak-Afghan Border Reopens for Trade
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    Pak-Afghan Border Reopens for Trade

    The border had been sealed on Monday following an exchange of fire triggered by mortar shell attacks from Afghanistan targeting the border village of Borki.

    After a six-day closure, the Pak-Afghan border at Kharlachi has been reopened for trade and traffic, signalling a return to normalcy in cross-border activities.

    Javedullah Mehsud, Deputy Commissioner of District Kurram, confirmed the resumption of trade and traffic with Afghanistan at the Kharlachi border. The border had been sealed on Monday following an exchange of fire triggered by mortar shell attacks from Afghanistan targeting the border village of Borki.

    The decision to reopen the Afghan border was reached after successful discussions between leaders from both sides and diplomatic negotiations.

    The reopening is a relief for both common citizens who faced transportation difficulties during the closure and crews of vehicles laden with goods, who encountered significant obstacles due to the border shutdown.

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    Earlier, amid escalating tensions between Islamabad and Kabul, Pakistan’s defense minister warned Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers that his country could block a corridor it provides to allow trade with India.

    Khwaja Asif said that Islamabad could block access to its western neighbour through its territory that allows goods to flow into its eastern neighbour India if the Taliban government fails to rein in the Pakistani Taliban, formally known as the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

    “If Afghanistan treats us like an enemy, then why should we give them a trade corridor?” Asif told Voice of America on March 20.

    The corridor allowing goods to flow between Afghanistan and India has become an important economic pillar for Kabul.

    According to the World Bank, Kabul’s trade with India increased 43 percent to $570 million last year, while its trade with Islamabad has shrunk from more than $4 billion a decade ago to less than $1 billion.

    Tensions running high

    Tensions between Islamabad and Kabul are running high since the Taliban retaliated against Pakistani air strikes that killed eight people on March 18.

    Over the past two decades, Islamabad has repeatedly closed trade routes and border crossings with Afghanistan to pressure Kabul whenever tensions spiked in their bilateral relations.

    Ghaus Janbaz, an international relations expert, told Radio Azadi that Islamabad wants to shift the blame to Afghanistan instead of focusing on its domestic crises.

    “[The Pakistani government] wants to show that the violence is coming from elsewhere, when all the violence is coming from within Pakistan,” he said.

    As part of pressuring the Taliban, Pakistan is set to force some 850,000 documented Afghan refugees back to their country next month if they don’t leave voluntarily. According to reports in Pakistani media, the expulsions, the latest in an ongoing campaign of forced deportations, are scheduled to begin on April 15.

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