In exchange for the release of prisoners, the Taliban have offered a three-month ceasefire.
As the militant group continues its sweeping advance across the nation, an Afghan government negotiator said on Thursday that the Taliban had offered a three-month truce in exchange for the release of 7,000 insurgent captives.
“It’s a major demand,” Nader Nadery said, adding that the rebels have also asked for the Taliban’s commanders to be removed from a UN blacklist.
Officials say Pakistani guards used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters attempting to breach a border crossing into Afghanistan on Thursday.
Pakistan had closed the border a day earlier after the Taliban captured the Afghan side in Spin Boldak district, continuing the terrorists’ stunning gains since Western forces began to withdraw from Afghanistan.
“An unruly group of roughly 400 people attempted to force its way through the gate. They flung stones, forcing us to use tear gas,” claimed a security official on the Pakistan side of the southwest Chaman border, who did not want to be identified.
He estimated that roughly 1,500 individuals had congregated at the border since Wednesday, ready to pass.
“People were getting belligerent, so we had to baton charge,” said a second border official who did not want to be identified.
A senior government official in Chaman, Jumadad Khan, said the situation was now “under control.”
Hundreds of individuals had congregated on the Afghan side, according to an Afghan Taliban source, trying to enter Pakistan.
“We’re in contact with Pakistani authorities. Today is a formal meeting to open the border, and hopefully it will be open in a day or two,” he said.
The crossing gives the Taliban’s top leadership direct access to Pakistan’s Balochistan area, where they have been based for decades, as well as an unknown number of reserve fighters who periodically enter Afghanistan to help replenish their ranks.
From the border, a major highway leads to Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial center, and its enormous port on the Arabian Sea, which is considered a keystone for Afghanistan’s billion-dollar heroin trade, which has provided a crucial source of funding for the Taliban’s war chest throughout the years.
Spin Boldak was the most recent in a spate of border crossings and dry ports taken by the militants in recent weeks, as they seek to suffocate Kabul’s earnings while simultaneously bolstering their own finances.
Even as social media was awash with photographs of rebel fighters lounging, Afghanistan’s interior ministry denied the Taliban had captured the area. Brief News from Washington Newsday.