Hundreds Return to Afghanistan As Pakistan Temporarily Reopens Border Crossings

Thousands of Afghan citizens have returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan after Pakistan temporarily reopened two of its border crossings that have been closed since February for what Islamabad described as necessary security measures.

Pakistani authorities say they will continue to allow Afghans with valid visas to cross from Pakistan back into Afghanistan through March 8 at the two border crossings -- the Torkham crossing into eastern Afghanistan along the Khyber Pass and the Chaman border crossing into Afghanistan's southern province of Kandahar.

Mohammad Ali Dawary, the police commissioner at the Afghan border town of Spin Boldak in Kandahar Province, said as many as 2,000 Afghan citizens had crossed through the Chaman checkpoint on Pakistan's side of the border by late on March 7.

Faiz Khan, a Pakistani official at Torkham, said on March 7 that overland trade between the two countries had yet to restart.

Islamabad closed the crossings on February 16 after a series of suicide attacks in Pakistan that killed dozens of children, soldiers, and police officers.

Islamabad claimed that the attacks were carried out by militants who were crossing into Pakistan from Afghanistan.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters