Friday, May 2, 2008

Pakistan Closes Iran Border in the Taftan Area

Pakistan on Tuesday closed its border with Iran in the Taftan area for an indefinite period due to security reasons, locals and officials said on Thursday.

The closure of the Friendship Gate at the Taftan border crossing has caused a shortage of edibles in Pakistani border towns, because informal trade between traders on either side of the border has also been halted. A government official on Thursday confirmed the unilateral closure of the border with Iran for an indefinite period.

The official said anonymously that the Balochistan government had ordered the border closure.

“Such measures are often taken by both the sides due to security reasons. In the past, we used to close the border on the instructions of the federal government but this time the border has been closed on the orders of the provincial government,” he said.

Locals said the border had been shut for three days. Several truckloads of vegetables and fruits remained stranded on both sides. Locals, who largely depend on cheaper Iranian edibles, have been complaining of the food shortage.

In recent years, Pakistan and Iran have often closed their borders unilaterally, due to a surge in Baloch and Taliban insurgencies.

“The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project has nothing to do with the closure of the border because it is planned to pass through the Gwadar area instead of the Taftan area,” another official said anonymously.

News Source: Daily Times

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