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Pak to Reopen Border for Afghan Visitors Stranded Due to COVID-19 Closure

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan announced Saturday it will briefly reopen the border with Afghanistan early next week to allow an unspecified number of stranded nationals of the neighboring country to return home.  
 
The coronavirus outbreak prompted Islamabad to seal borders with all neighboring countries last month in a bid to limit the regional spread of the disease.  
 
The abrupt border closure prevented Afghan visitors from returning home. They include patients seeking better medical treatment in Pakistan, traders, visitors meeting relatives and attending wedding ceremonies and refugee communities, housing around three million Afghan refugees and economic migrants.
 
The Pakistani Foreign Ministry, in a statement, cited a “special request” by the Kabul government and “humanitarian considerations” for reopening the main border crossings of Torkham and Chaman for four days starting Monday to allow the exit of Afghan nationals.
 
“As a neighbor and in view of fraternal bilateral relations, Pakistan remains in abiding solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, particularly at this time of global pandemic,” the statement stressed.
 
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan stood at more than 2,700 as of Saturday, with at least 41 deaths.  (VoA)

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