Pak-Afghan border reopens after four days

Islamabad: The Pak-Afghan Torkham border crossing has been reopened after Pakistani Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal reached an understanding on this. The meeting on Friday was arranged as old irritants in the bilateral relationships -- rows over border management and terrorism concerns -- resurfaced ahead of the upcoming meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, a four-nation initiative for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, Dawn online reported. The group is scheduled to meet on May 18 and 19 in Islamabad and it will be its first meeting since the unsuccessful attempt to start talks between the Afghan government and Taliban in the first week of March. Zakhilwal said during Friday's meeting several issues affecting the ties between the two South Asian neighbours were discussed. It was agreed that routine border traffic would be "resumed at Torkham. Both sides showed resolve to continue efforts to fight terrorism, bringing lasting peace in the region", the ISPR chief, Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa, said. Pakistan closed the border crossing on Tuesday after Afghan authorities reacted to an attempt to fence the crossing for "controlling unauthorised cross-border movements". The move left thousands of people stranded on both the sides of the border, be­sides halting the movement of cargo vehicles. On Friday evening, over a hundred vehicles carrying goods crossed over into Afghanistan after the border crossing was reopened following a closure of almost four days. Officials said the traffic at the border was thin in the beginning, but soon a large number of vehicles loaded with construction material, food items and other goods began crossing the border into and from Afghanistan.