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Pakistan briefly reopens Chaman border allowing thousands of Afghans to return home

Pakistani people return from Afghanistan after crossing the border point in Pakistan’s town of Chaman on July 17, 2021. — AFP

CHAMAN: To allow thousands of Afghans to go back to their homeland through the border town Spin Boldak, Pakistan on Saturday partially reopened its southern crossing with Afghanistan. 

“We have opened the Chaman border… allowing crowds of up to 4,000 Afghans including women and children to cross over to Afghanistan to celebrate Eid al-Adha with their families, purely on humanitarian grounds,” a border official, who did not want to be named, told AFP.

People would be allowed to cross until the evening, with the possibility the border would open again tomorrow, the official added.

Muhammad Tayyab, a local paramilitary official, said the decision was taken because of “relative calm on the other side”, but said the crossing would remain closed to trade.

An AFP photographer said the gates were rushed by families as soon as they opened.

Qudratullah, 30, who lives in neighbouring Kandahar province in Afghanistan was returning after taking his father to Karachi for a heart bypass three months ago.

“I have to come back (to Pakistan) for a routine check-up of my father, but let’s see if I am able to come back or not,” he said.

Muhammad Khan, 50, who works as a labourer in Quetta, said he had been waiting at the border trying to reach Afghanistan for the Muslim holiday Eid.

“I will definitely try to come back after Eid because there is unemployment in Afghanistan and I will not be able to get any job there,” he said.

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