KABUL, Afghanistan 

Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed on Monday to enhance coordination among border forces amid growing incidents of deadly cross-border shelling, an Afghan official said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Naab told a press conference in the Afghan capital Kabul that the neighbors also agreed to hasten efforts to complete railway links between them to promote bilateral and regional trade.

“Pakistan expressed full support for the Afghan-led peace process and the speedy start of intra-Afghan peace talks,” he said after a meeting of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), a bilateral dialogue mechanism.

After the meeting, a delegation from Pakistan led by foreign secretary Sohail Mahmood met acting Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar.

“The foreign minister stressed the need to end shelling on different parts of Afghanistan from across the Durand Line, halt the construction of ‘arbitrary’ facilities keep the crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan open,” the Foreign Ministry quoted Atmar as saying, while also thanking Pakistan for hosting Afghan refugees.

Last week, after a six-month closure, Afghanistan and Pakistan resumed the cross-border movement of passengers on the busy Chaman-Spinboldak crossing point.

The Pakistan-based Business Recorder daily reported on Aug. 21 that the Bab-e-Dosti Gate (Friendship Gate) on the Chaman border would remain open for seven days a week from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

Months of closure on this key route due to the coronavirus pandemic led to protests by travelers and traders and subsequent shelling by border troops, resulting in the deaths of at least 15 Afghan civilians earlier this month.

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