Many stranded as border gate stays shut
JALALABAD (PAN): Pakistani border guards refused to allow illegal Afghans entry into their country at the Torkham border crossing for a third consecutive day on Sunday, officials said.
The refusal, seen as a concrete measure by Pakistan to deport all illegal Afghans before the general elections this year, sometimes leads to arrests, said an official at the Afghan Commissionarate in Torkham, Nisar Ahmad.
He added the Pakistanis were not allowing the Afghans without legal travel documents to enter their country since Friday.
A Pakistani guard told Pajhwok Afghan News they had been directed by the central government to close the border gate to illegal Afghan travellers.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the gate would remain closed until they received further orders in this regard. He said talks between Afghan and Pakistan security officials had failed to yield any result because the matter was beyond their authority.
He said both Pakistani and Afghan security officials were in a dilemma due to the closure, suggesting high-level discussions on the issue.
Pakistan and Afghan authorities agreed earlier this month if tribesmen living within a 10-kilometre radius on both sides of Torkham lacked necessary travel documents by January 10 they would not be allowed to cross the frontier.
Pakistani officials said the decision was jointly taken by both countries to restrict illegal movement. Afghan officials at the port also acknowledged the issue needed to be resolved through high-level talks.
Witnesses said thousands of people had been stranded on the Afghan side of the border since the restrictions were imposed.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.