Taliban fighters in Afghanistan said on Wednesday they had taken control of one of the main border crossings with Pakistan, perhaps the most strategic objective they have captured so far in a rapid advance across the country as U.S. forces pull out.
A Pakistani official said fighters had taken down the Afghan government flag from atop the Friendship Gate at the border crossing between the Pakistani town of Chaman and the Afghan town of Wesh.
The crossing, south of Afghanistan’s main southern city Kandahar, is the landlocked country’s second busiest entry point and the main link between its vast southwest and Pakistani ports. Afghan government data show it is used by 900 trucks a day.
The takeover forced Pakistan to seal parts of its border with Afghanistan after heavy fighting between Taliban and Afghan forces around Wesh.
Afghan officials said government forces had pushed back the Taliban fighters and were in control of the Spin Boldak border district in Kandahar province. But civilians and Pakistani officials said the Taliban controlled the Wesh border posts.