When will Pakistan-Afghanistan border reopen

When will Pakistan-Afghanistan border reopen

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan said on Thursday that the (closed) borders with Afghanistan would soon be opened for trade and people’s interaction.

Addressing a weekly media briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that the borders were closed temporarily due to security reasons.

“Sooner than later we will be able to open the border and resume the trading of goods and interaction of the people as usual. I can’t give a date but we are mindful and we are taking measures which are essential,” he said.

Zakaria’s comments came after Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz met with Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar in London to discuss the two countries’ tensions. British National Security Adviser Sir Mark Lyall Grant hosted the two leaders.

This was the highest-level face-to-face meeting between the two countries after Pakistan closed borders with Afghanistan to stop infiltration. Pakistan’s action was in response to Afghanistan-based militants’ claims of carrying out the recent terror attacks in Pakistan.

Questioned about the Aziz-Atmar meeting, Zakaria said that Aziz was in London to basically attend the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meeting. “Afghan NSA Hanif Atmar was also there. It provided a good occasion for them to engage and discuss issues of mutual interest. The issues pertain to use of Afghan soil against Pakistan, our concern about sanctuaries enjoyed by various terrorist outfits and our concern about the funding and the financing of these terrorist elements to destabilise Pakistan. This is also the background for Pak-Afghan closure of the border,” he said.

The spokesperson said that he did not know about the fencing of the Pak-Afghan border but “as to the closing of the border, I have said this thing earlier that it is a temporary measure. Security of our people and territory is of vital importance, which has been attacked time and again by the terrorist elements enjoying safe havens in Afghanistan.”

He said Afghan soil had been actually used against Pakistan. “We are taking measures to this effect. I am sure all these occasions (meetings on the sidelines of multilateral summits) provide the opportunity to the leadership of both the sides to discuss the issues and come to an understanding as to how to overcome such challenges,” he said.

Zakaria said Pakistan remained supportive of an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process for a political settlement. “Our participation in Afghan related forums including the trilateral and later six-party regional consultations is based on our policy of supporting Afghan peace initiatives. There are a number of initiatives on Afghanistan. In many of them, Pakistan wholeheartedly participates. Bringing warring factions to the negotiating table for dialogue with the Afghan government is an imperative,” he elaborated.