Tense calm prevails at Chaman border

The Pakistan-Afghanistan border on Monday remained closed for the second consecutive day as tensions run high between the two countries after unprovoked firing from the Afghan side.

The Chaman border – also known as Friendship Gate –, which connects Balochistan province to Afghanistan's Kandahar province, was closed after an armed Afghan reportedly crossed into Pakistan's border and opened fire on the security troops, martyring a soldier and injuring another two on Sunday.

The attack was followed by hours-long firing between Pakistani and Afghan border troops, prompting the closure of the key trade border between the two neighbours.

The funeral prayer of the martyred Frontier Corps (FC) soldier, who was identified as Ehsanullah, was offered in Chaman. A large number of people belonging to various walks of life participated in the final rites.

Meanwhile, Pakistan beefed up security measures in the aftermath of the firing from Afghanistan as the border remained closed for the second consecutive day and all pedestrians' movement and business activities were suspended.

"The border was closed after the untoward incident," Abdul Hameed Zehri, Deputy Commissioner Chaman, told The Express Tribune via telephone. He said security has been tightened in the aftermath of the firing incident at the border.

A flag meeting was held between Pakistan and Afghan officials to discuss issues relating to the border.

However, no progress was made with regard to the reopening of the border.

On the other hand, the Afghan government also tightened security measures on their side. Moreover, people living on both sides of the border suffered difficulties as a result of the closure of the border.

Long queues of people and vehicles were witnessed on both sides.

"I have been waiting for the opening of the border", Amir Khan, an Afghan refugee stranded at the border said. He said he had come to Quetta for medical treatment of his wife. “Now I was trying to enter Afghanistan when suddenly the border was closed,” he lamented.

Senior officials of the two countries have been in contact since Sunday, a security official told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity since he was not authorised to speak to the media.

He also confirmed that the border was closed after an unprovoked firing by the Afghan side and added that the protest has been lodged and conveyed to the Afghan government.

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