Pakistan Has Reopened Its Border Crossing With Afghanistan Following The Shooting

A week after an Afghan gunman killed a Pakistani security guard at the Chaman crossing, it reopened.

Pakistan reopened its key Chaman border crossing with landlocked Afghanistan for trade and pedestrian movement on Monday, a week after it was closed after an Afghan gunman shot and killed a Pakistani soldier and injured two others, according to a Pakistani official.

Pakistan at the ‘Friendship Gate’ crossing point in Chaman, Pakistan, on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Pakistan has reopened a key border crossing with Afghanistan, a week after an Afghan gunman killed a Pakistani security guard there, forcing the crossing to close.

Security forces on both sides have been placed on high alert . After the reopening, soldiers from both countries shake hands. Following a deadly attack, the border was closed last week ago.

Shehzad Zehri, an official in Chaman, a border city in Balochistan’s southwestern province, confirmed the reopening to Al Jazeera on Monday. 

According to officials, the decision to reopen the Chaman border crossing, also known as Friendship Gate, was made during a meeting between Pakistani and Afghan officials on Sunday.

Another official in Chaman, Abdul Hameed Zehri, said the Afghan authorities expressed regret for last week’s incident and promised action.

The Chaman border, located nearly 120 kilometers (74 miles) northwest of Pakistan’s provincial capital Quetta, is one of the busiest border crossings between the two countries, with thousands of people crossing each day.

On November 13, a Pakistani soldier stationed at the border was fired upon, forcing the crossing to close. Following the incident, there was a brief exchange of fire between the two armies.

Imran Kakar, former president of the Chaman Chamber of Commerce, who attended the meeting on Sunday, said the discussions took place in a “friendly environment.”

Kakar expressed hope that such incidents will not jeopardize the livelihoods of the thousands of traders who use the crossing.

“Both countries are impacted. People are impacted. Businesses are impacted. These issues can only be resolved through dialogue, and trade must not be halted,” he told Al Jazeera.

Security forces on both sides of the border are on high alert; soldiers from both countries shake hands after the border reopens.

The Taliban government in Afghanistan condemned the incident in a statement last week and ordered the formation of a fact-finding committee to investigate it.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied allegations in Pakistani media that the attacker was a member of the Afghan border forces on Friday.

The Afghan Taliban has had a tense relationship with Islamabad since taking over Kabul last year. Pakistan accuses Afghanistan of providing a safe haven to armed groups, which the Taliban denies.

Pakistan was one of only a few countries to recognize the first Taliban government in Afghanistan when it came to power in the late 1990s.

However, in a news conference on Friday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari stated that his country would not recognize the Taliban government until an international consensus is reached.