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Pakistan Reverses Decision, Says Will Keep Afghan Border Crossings Open

FILE: Trucks parked near the Pakistan Afghanistan border crossing in Torkham.
FILE: Trucks parked near the Pakistan Afghanistan border crossing in Torkham.

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan has reversed a decision to close all border crossings with Afghanistan and will keep facilities open on September 28 as the war-wracked country goes to polls for its presidential election.

“Pakistan received request from Afghanistan [Defense Ministry] on very short notice for border facilitation and opening of border crossings during Afghan Presidential elections,” the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said.

Despite “security issues along border, Pakistan will continue to support its Afghan brothers,” it added.

“Therefore, it has been decided to open major border terminals to facilitate movement of Afghan citizen across Pakistan-Afghanistan border so that they are able to exercise their right to vote during presidential election in Afghanistan.”

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said earlier that the crossings would remain closed for people and trade vehicles during polling in Afghanistan on September 28.

Elections for a new Afghan president are being held amid fears of violence after Taliban leaders ordered militants to disrupt the process.

Pakistan has also announced it was deploying extra security personnel at the border crossings to make sure militants do not cross into Afghanistan.

The Afghan Taliban has been accused of launching deadly attacks in Afghanistan from their hideouts across the border in complicity with Pakistani spy agencies. Islamabad denies the accusation.

The election comes only weeks after peace talks between the United States and the Taliban collapsed, prompting fears of more violence in the country.

With reporting by dpa