Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan was closed today and security forces were on alert as Afghans voted in national elections under threat of Taliban attacks, officials and residents said.
An insurgency by the Islamist extremists plagues both Muslim states, with militants slipping over the porous border and also staging attacks on convoys supplying NATO troops as they travel from Pakistan to war-torn Afghanistan.
“The Pak-Afghan border has been completely sealed from Tuesday and will be closed till Friday... security is on high alert on both sides of the border,” said Rehan Gul Khattak, assistant administrative chief for Khyber district.
“The containers carrying goods for NATO forces have also been stopped and there are long queues of supply vehicles on the border.”
Khattak was referring to the official border posts, but much of the traffic along the 2,500-kilometre frontier is through informal crossings or deep in the remote mountains where there is no government presence.
The Khyber official said that Afghans who had special passes from their embassy allowing them to vote would be able to cross, but added that only about 200 people had passed through the busiest border post at Torkham.
Officials and locals in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan, said the main Chaman border crossing had also been closed.