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Thousands flock to Torkham as Durand Line reopens

Thousands flock to Torkham as Durand Line reopens

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Apr 06, 2020 - 17:09

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): As Pakistan reopened on Monday the Durand Line at Torkham and Chaman, thousands of stranded Afghan nationals flocked to the crossings amid coronavirus fears.

While officials in eastern Nangarhar province say they can quarantine only 1,000 passengers a day.

Early today morning, Pakistan reopened the Durand Line at Torkham and Chaman for four days to allow the exit of Afghan nationals seeking to go back to their country.

The step, taken in response to a special request from the Afghan government, is based on humanitarian considerations and to facilitate the Afghan citizens.

The Afghan Embassy in Islamabad on Sunday announced that only 1000 people would enter the country based on their bilateral agreement with Pakistaninfo-icon in this regard.

But some eyewitness told Pajhwok Afghan News that thousands of people in hundreds of vehicles were stopped by Pakistani forces on the Peshawar-Torkham highway and only 1000 individuals were given permission to proceed.

Abdul Basir, a passenger who crossed the Torkham gate, told Pajhwok that instead of patients and womeninfo-icon and children, other people crossed the gate this morning.

Asadullah Farooqi, migrants attaché at the Afghan Consulate in Peshawar city of Pakistan, said only 1000 people could enter Afghanistaninfo-icon via the Torkham gate, but more than 4000 people reached this morning.

On the other hand, Nangarhar governor Shah Mahmood Miakhel said all people arriving at the crossing points from neighboring Pakistan would be quarantined for 14 to 21 days at Torkham Township.

The Durand Lineinfo-icon would remain open for four days at both entry points from April 6 to 9, officials said, adding hundreds of Pakistanis were also stranded in Spin Boldak and Torkham.

The entry points had been closed as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The Pakistanis returning from Afghanistan would be quarantined at a centre near the border with Iran in Chaman. The Afghan citizens will also be kept at a quarantine centre in Spin.

Pk/ma

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