Pakistan to open border crossings closed in wake of attacks


Pakistan will temporarily open two border crossings with Afghanistan that were closed after a string of militant attacks, officials said Monday. The Torkham and Chaman crossings will be open Tuesday and Wednesday and Afghans with valid visas will be allowed to return home, as will Pakistanis who travelled to Afghanistan with valid visas, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said.

Pakistan shut the two main crossings with Afghanistan three weeks ago after a wave of suicide bombings that authorities said was linked to a group operating on the other side of the border.

The two countries have long accused each other of ignoring militants that operate along the porous frontier.

Islamic militants attacked several Pakistani military posts in tribal regions along the Afghan border on Monday, killing six soldiers, the army said.

Pakistani troops repulsed the attackers, who had crossed overnight from Afghanistan into the Mohmand tribal region where three military posts were ambushed, the army statement said. It added that 10 of the attackers were believed to have been killed before the militants retreated over the border.

A Pakistani Taliban breakaway faction, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, claimed responsibility. Pakistan has long been home to both local and al-Qaida-linked foreign militants.

Several Pakistani military offensives have targeted the bases and infrastructure used by the militants in the country’s tribal regions, and Islamabad says some of the groups have shifted to sanctuaries across the Afghan border.

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