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Key Pakistani-Afghan border crossing closed after dispute over gate construction

Key Pakistani-Afghan border crossing closed after dispute over gate construction

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD (AA) - A key border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan closed on Wednesday following a dispute on the construction of a new gate, an official told Anadolu.

The Torkham border has been closed for travelers and traffic following a verbal clash between border security forces from the two countries.

“We are constructing a new gate near the border crossing and the Afghan Taliban raised objection to the sign board ‘Welcome to Pakistan’,” a Pakistani official at the border told Anadolu over the phone on condition of anonymity.

The official, however, said that repatriation of illegal Afghan refugees will continue.

In September, the Torkham border connecting Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province with Nangarhar province of Afghanistan remained closed for several days following skirmishes between border security forces from the two countries.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan went sour last month when Islamabad launched a crackdown against illegal foreigners, mostly Afghan refugees, and announced to send them back to their countries. So far, over 450,000 Afghans have returned.

Islamabad also accuses “Afghanistan-based” militants loyal to outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) of carrying out attacks with the Taliban turning a blind eye.

Kabul, for its part, denies the charge.

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