Pakistan reopens border with Afghanistan


- File photo

 ISLAMABAD: Pakistan announced it was reopening its volatile southwestern border with Afghanistan at the start of the holy month of Ramadan on Saturday, weeks after bloody clashes broke out between the two countries’ militaries in the area.

Islamabad decided to close the major crossing at Chaman in early May after Afghan troops opened fire on a Pakistani census team, sparking a deadly firefight across the frontier, leaving at least eight civilians dead and an unconfirmed number of military casualties on both sides.

Afghanistan had viewed some of the villages visited by the Pakistani census takers as within their territory, but the two countries later agreed to use Google Maps to help settle the dispute.

After weeks with traffic between the neighbours choked off at the border, the Pakistani military on Saturday said it would reopen the crossing “on humanitarian grounds”.

In a statement the army said it had the area on its side of the frontier under control, “having pushed back Afghan Border police troops”, adding that “no border violation will be acceptable”.