United Nations hails PM Sharif's order to open Pakistan-Afghan border

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United Nations hails PM Sharif's order to open Pakistan-Afghan border

Afghans are increasingly turning to smugglers as Pakistan's month-long border closure blocks trade and causes food prices to soar after a bitter terrorism spat between the two neighbors.

The prime minister ordered the authorities to reopen the border immediately as a gesture of goodwill while keeping in sight the businesses affected.

It is the first high level face-to-face interaction between both countries after Pakistan closed border last month alleging that Afghan-based militants are mounting attacks, the report said.

Noting that Pakistan had eliminated nearly all terrorist safe havens from FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas], Ambassador Chaudhary said the United States lawmakers and generals, who visited the region, also appreciated this achievement.

On Wednesday, Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan's foreign affairs adviser and Afghanistan's national security adviser Hanif Atmar met in London for trilateral talks.

The Prime Minister hoped that the Afghan government would take measures to address the reasons for which the borders were closed by Pakistan.

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Sharif said this was being done despite recent militant attacks in Pakistan being traced back to militants using Afghan sanctuaries.

Pakistan had temporarily reopened the border crossings for two days in early March to allow visitors with valid visas on both sides to return home.

"The Prime Minister emphasised that Pakistan is pursuing a policy of peaceful neighbourhood and wishes to resolve all outstanding issues with its neighbours, peacefully through dialogue", a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.

"We hope that the people of the two countries would be able to move freely between the to countries", the spokesman added.

The protracted border closure has cost businesses on both sides tens of millions of dollars and fueled bilateral tensions.

Pakistan sealed the Torkham and Chaman crossings on February 16, after a string of suicide attacks killed more than 130 people across the country, blaming the violence on Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and other armed groups.

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