Thousands rush as Afghan border crossing opens

This was the scene as thousands of people rushed into Afghanistan on Tuesday (November 2), as a major border crossing with Pakistan reopened after a nearly month-long closure.

The Chaman border - the second-largest commercial border point between the two countries - was originally closed by Pakistani authorities due to security threats.

The re-opening comes – according to Pakistan media - after talks between the Afghan and Pakistan governments.

"We have been stranded here for 30 nights. We are very tired. There was no provision for flour, or food. Now that the border has opened we are very happy. Now we are hoping that people from both sides will cross over peacefully, without creating any problems for anyone. We are very grateful to both governments, but we are hoping they will not create any issues for us. If they do that, then we will also be compelled to retaliate."

The crossing is a vital source of customs revenue for the cash-strapped government in Afghanistan.

Disputes over issues ranging from COVID-19 to the validity of Afghan travel documents have prevented the re-opening of the Chaman crossing, despite severe hardship to truckers and local farmers.

In late October, hundreds of traders in Pakistan protested the border's closure by blocking a local highway.

As Afghanistan sinks deeper into economic crisis, neighboring countries have been increasingly worried about a mass movement of refugees.

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