Pakistan and Afghanistan border crossing reopens after Taliban ban

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A major border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan reopened on Tuesday after almost a month, allowing thousands of commuters and hundreds of lorries across, officials said.

Taliban authorities had ordered the closure of the Chaman crossing, which links the south-western Pakistani province of Quetta with the Afghan city of Kandahar, on October 5. The reason for the move was unclear.

Thousands of people – mostly Afghans seeking medical treatment at Pakistani hospitals and members of divided families living on both sides – were left stranded by the closure.

Thousands of people including women and children crossed into Pakistan on the first day of reopening, said Hazrat Ali, local official in Chaman.

Nearly 200 lorries carrying foodstuff, medicines and other supplies crossed the border into Afghanistan, local exporter Imran Kakar said.

Trucks carrying pomegranates, one of Afghanistan’s main exports to Pakistan, have started arriving in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, Pakistani broadcaster ARY television reported.

Half of Pakistan around 2.5-billion-dollar annual exports to Afghanistan pass through Chamman, according to exporters. There are fears the figure might drop significantly due to frequent border closures.

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