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Pakistan Cancels 'Letter Of Permission' For Incoming Afghans After Extortion Claims

A Pakistani soldier stands guard at the Torkham crossing on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered border officials to end the practice of requiring a “letter of permission” from the Interior Ministry for all Afghans entering Pakistan via the Torkham border crossing.

On September 30, Khan’s special assistant on establishment, Shehzad Arbab, posted on Twitter that the prime minister had ordered an end to the practice following “complaints of illegal extortion of money from incoming Afghans.”

Hundreds of Afghans with valid visas for travel to Pakistan had been stuck at the border because they had been unable to get the letter of permission.

Officials introduced the controversial requirement for the Torkham crossing following the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August, saying it was necessary to prevent the entry of militants.

No such letter was required at the Chaman border crossing or for passengers travelling from Afghanistan by air.