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Pakistan and Afghanistan agree to reopen Torkham border crossing

The key Torkham crossing is once again accessible after deadly clashes forced its closure. Delegates from Pakistan and Afghanistan are set to meet soon to resolve issues causing tension.

Pakistan reopened one of its major border crossings with Afghanistan on Saturday after several days of closure due to deadly skirmishes in the area. The Torkham frontier was

shut last Sunday

after two Afghan border guards and one Pakistani military officer were killed when the two sides began trading fire.

Thousands of people were stranded at the border gates in the meantime, but Pakistani officials have said that anyone with a valid passport will now be allowed to move through the gates. This could still be problematic for the many travelers without documentation who are used to going back and forward over what was once a relatively unprotected crossing.

The move comes after "days of negotiations" between the two countries aimed at calming tensions. Both sides traded blame as to how the clashes broke out, summoning ambassadors and lodging formal complaints.

Contentious gate construction

Pakistani gate construction at the border has been a point of contention between the two governments but Islamabad has insisted it was necessary to prevent "terrorists" from entering the country.

According to the ministry of foreign affairs in Pakistan, an Afghan delegation is scheduled to make a formal visit to the capital aimed at resolving the oft-recurring clashes in Torkham.

"Pakistan welcomes the visit and looks forward to meaningful deliberations through a constructive engagement between the two sides," the ministry said in a statement.

The Torkham crossing runs through the busy Khyber pass, which sees thousands of people and hundreds of trucks move back and forth between the two countries every day.

es/jm (AFP, dpa)

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