Taliban forces claim capture of key crossing on Afghan/Pakistani border

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July 14 (UPI) — Taliban forces said they captured a key town on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan on Wednesday.

The group said it captured the strategic Chaman-Spin Boldak border crossing, and border security officials in Pakistan said they had sealed their portion of the border to all trade and travel in response.

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Afghanistan’s interior ministry on Wednesday asserted that government forces remained in control of the area but local Pakistani administration official Arif Kakar told Al Jazeera that “the Taliban presence can be seen at Afghan border along with Pakistan” and that no Afghan government forces were present.

Video from a local witness also showed the Afghan government flag on the Afghan side of the crossing had been replaced by the Taliban’s white flag.

An Afghan insurgent leader described the scene as a “peaceful” takeover of the border post and Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban said that militant group would maintain security in the area and resume cross-border trade once an agreement with Pakistan has been reached, The Times of India reported.

Last week, Afghan government officials said they repelled an attack by the Taliban on the country’s second-largest city, Kandahar, and earlier this month border officials said that 1,037 Afghan servicemen fled the Badakhshan province and crossed the border into neighboring Tajikistan after clashes with the Taliban.

The Taliban began launching attacks across the country and capturing territory on May 1, when U.S. forces began withdrawing from the country.

President Joe Biden has set a deadline of Sept. 11 to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and said last week that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan should be completed by Aug. 31.