Pakistan opens border crossings to allow stranded Afghans to return home

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Pakistan opens border crossings to allow stranded Afghans go home

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-06 |Editor: huaxia

ISLAMABAD, April 6 (Xinhua) — Pakistan on Monday opened two major border crossings with Afghanistan to allow stranded Afghan citizens to return home, officials and correspondents said.

Thousands of Afghans including patients have been stuck in Pakistan after the country closed borders with Afghanistan to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The border crossings at Torkham in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Chaman in southwest Balochistan province will be opened for a specific period from Monday to Thursday to facilitate Afghan nationals who wish to go back to their country, the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan said on Saturday.

Farhad Shinwari, a Pakistani journalist told Xinhua on Monday that a large number of Afghan nationals are heading toward the Torkham border crossing to enter Afghanistan.

The Afghan embassy in Islamabad said on Sunday that arrangements will be made for the return of 1,000 people from each crossing daily and crossings will be opened for those Afghan nationals who have come to Pakistan on valid visas.

“I have seen many people, including women and children, sitting on the main road and waiting for permission to go to the border,” Shinwari said by the phone, adding that the border was opened at 8 a.m. Pakistani local time on Monday.

The border crossings have been opened only for the people and not for vehicles. Last month, Pakistan temporarily opened Chaman border to allow trucks to cross into Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, officials in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province said they have established quarantine facility near the border with Pakistan for those returning from Pakistan.