November 3, 2021: One of the main crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan has reopened after being closed for almost a month, officials said on Tuesday, offering hope for an end to a standoff that has caused heavy losses to traders and left thousands stranded.
The Chaman crossing is a major transit point for truckers moving fruit exports from around the southern Afghan city of Kandahar and its closure for the past 27 days has come at a high cost for farmers unable to get their products to market.
“The Afghan transit trade and other trade and economic activities continue,” a senior Pakistan border official said.
The reopening should come as a relief to the Taliban government in Kabul, which desperately needs the customs revenues from the border posts. Its cash-strapped economy has few other legitimate sources of foreign revenue.
As Afghanistan has sunk deeper into an economic crisis, with the abrupt withdrawal of foreign aid following the Taliban victory in August, Pakistani officials have been increasingly concerned by the prospect of a new wave of refugees.
Pakistani authorities originally closed the borders due to security threats, but disputes over issues ranging from COVID-19 to the validity of Afghan travel documents prevented reopening for weeks, despite pledges of action.