KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Intending to enter Pakistan, thousands of people, including families, have been stranded in the Spin Boldak district of southern Kandahar province for the past two weeks.
The families, mostly from the northern and eastern provinces of the country, want to leave the country after the regime change, but Pakistani forces are not allowing them to enter their country.
Currently, only those with either Pakistani ID card or a Kandahar ID card are allowed to enter Pakistan.
Abdul Wadud is one of thousands of Afghans who have been flocking to Spin Boldak for the past week with their family of five people to Pakistan.
He came to Spin Boldak district from the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif and said he wanted to leave the country after the Taliban took power because he was worried about his own and his children’s future.
He said Pakistani forces and Taliban were not allowing people to cross into Pakistan. He added that thousands of Afghans gather in front of the gate every day and try to enter Pakistan but they were unable to do so.
Wadud said like thousands of Afghan families, he was in dire straits after running out of money and now he even could not buy food for his children.
He said many families were forced to spend the night in open fields in Spin Boldak, while many families spent days and nights in hotels, hoping to move to Pakistan. According to him, people are accompanied by children, women, elderly and the sick.
He called on the Pakistani authorities to open the border gate on humanitarian grounds and allow Afghans to enter Pakistan.
Mohammad Nasim coming from Nangarhar province told Pajhwok Afghan News he had been in Spin Boldak district for two weeks and had been stranded there. He said he arrived in Spin Boldak after the closure of Torkham crossing. He wanted to enter Pakistan with his family.
He said thousands of people various parts of the country, including the eastern and northern provinces, were stranded at Spin Boldak amid lack of accommodation facilities. “Many people do not have money to spend the night.”
“People are scared, the future is unknown, there are no jobs, people are fleeing but the roads are blocked,” he said.
He called on the authorities to take pity on the suffering Afghans and make it easier for them to go through these difficult times.
On the other hand, some stranded people said that some families were forced to pay between 5,000 and 6,000 rupees to smugglers to smuggle them to Pakistan.
Mohammad Anwar, who is stranded in Spin Boldak for trying to cross into Pakistan, told Pajhwok Afghan News: Roads leading to Pakistan have now become a business for some who take advantage of the plight of Afghans.”
But he says those without money are forced to wait indefinitely.
The Spin Boldak commissioner told Pajhwok Afghan News that the closure of some roads and ports in the country by Pakistan had led to more congestion on the Spin Boldak-Chaman road than ever before. The commissioner added that the Pakistani side would only allow entry to Afghans with passports and Kandahar IDs.
He added that the Afghan side was trying to remove the existing barriers and facilitate the movement of people.
Meanwhile, Taliban pokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference in Kabul that problems with Pakistan had increased in the country’s port areas.
He added that the number of Afghans in Spin Boldak and Torkham who wanted to go to Pakistan was higher than ever and they were not allowed to by the Pakistani side.
He said the victims included patients, refugees and even traders whom Pakistan had blocked.
However, he noted that he had raised the issue with a Pakistani security delegation to Afghanistan and called on them to open the gate to Afghans.
According to Mujahid, the visiting delegation was concerned about jailbreaks and criminals could enter Pakistan.
But he noted that he had assured the Pakistani delegation that no one would be allowed to use Afghan soil against Pakistan.
He also said that the issue should not be used as an excuse to block the way for ordinary Afghans, as those who are worried about entering the country could be searched.
He said talks were underway with the Pakistani side to reopen the route.
The Spin Boldak-Chaman road will be reopened by the Pakistani side at 8:30 am for pedestrian traffic and will be closed at 3:30 pm.
This restriction has not only caused severe hardship to the people, but has also severely affected trade and commerce, according to traders, as very few trucks are allowed to enter Afghanistan during the day.