Nawaz Sharif orders immediate reopening of Pak-Afghan border

However, the crossing points may only reopen permanently once Afghanistan has placed "proper" checking and verification mechanisms, Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said last week.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Sunday that his country wants to address all outstanding issues with neighbours peacefully.

The premier was of the view that the prolonged closure of the Pak-Afghan border was against the interests of the people and the economies of the two countries.

The UK has quietly hosted a meeting of top officials from Pakistan and Afghanistan where they discussed ways to ease tensions between two countries after a series of terror attacks in Pakistan, according to a media report. While Pakistan's trade has been hit as it exports more to Afghanistan, its neighbor is suffering as it imports $2.5 billion of food and materials annually from Pakistan, he said.

He said the decision to re-open the border is being taken as a goodwill gesture.

The closure of the border has caused heavy financial losses for traders in both countries.

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.

While warmly welcoming the President of Tatarstan and his delegation, Sharif said that longstanding bilateral relations were a manifestation of a common desire to explore possibilities for enhancing cooperation between Pakistan and Russian Federation.

Last month Pakistani military shelled a militant training camp on the Afghan side of the Durand Line.

The closure choked off a key trading route for landlocked Afghanistan.

Pakistan closed the border in mid-February following a string of deadly militant attacks which Islamabad has blamed on militants hiding in Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan heavily relies on Pakistan", said Ahmad Massoud, an economics professor at Kabul University.

  • Leroy Wright