Afghan envoy meets Pak army chief to reduce border tension
May 14 2016 12:04 AM
Afghan civilians sleeping along a road near the Torkham border between Afghanistan and Pakistan in Nangarhar province yesterday.


Kabul envoy to Islamabad Omer Zakhilwal met Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif yesterday and agreed to resolve the border issue and resume the routine cross-border traffic, a military spokesman said.
Tensions heightened between Pakistan and Afghanistan as the two countries deployed tanks and armoured personnel carriers along the tense Torkham border, besides sending more troops after their negotiating teams failed to resolve the border fencing
But the situation did not last long as during yesterday’s meeting both sides agreed to resume routine cross border traffic on the Torkham and reiterated their commitment to fight terror and bring lasting peace in the region.
The Inter-Services public relations spokesperson said that bilateral relations, particularly the border management issue, were discussed in detail during the meeting of Afghan envoy with army chief.
Pakistan started fencing some vulnerable points of the border with Afghanistan to plug illegal and secret border crossings and movements of people.
Afghanistan has objected to the border fencing and officially protested to Pakistan over the issue. Because of the tense situation, the border remained closed for last three days.
Negotiating teams of the two countries briefly met at the Pakistan side of the border on Thursday but could not resolve the issue leaving scores of travellers and traders stranded on both sides of the border for a couple of days.
Pakistan closed the border on Tuesday after the Afghan forces prevented Pakistan’s plan to fence the border to stop illegal cross-border movement, Xinhua reported.
“Illegal crossings and other associated issues are major challenges for both countries. To address the situation, the government of Pakistan has decided to implement border control measures at Torkham for effective border management,” the foreign
ministry said in Islamabad.
“It is in the interest of both countries to have a well-regulated border. There were differences between the two sides on implementation of measures to manage and regulate the border, due to which the border has been temporarily closed,” ministry spokesman Nafees Zikriya said.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have nearly 2,600kms of border, mostly porous, and the illegal crossing has always been a source of tension between the two countries.

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