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Pakistan closes second major border crossing with Afghanistan

In this photo taken on January 7, 2017, travelers are watched by Pakistan security personnel as they wait to cross the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan in Chaman. (Photo by AFP)
Pakistan has shut down a second major Border crossing into Afghanistan, two days after a huge explosion killed scores of people in the southern province of Sindh.
Islamabad closed its Border Crossing with Afghanistan near the city of Chaman in the southwest province of Baluchistan late on Friday, said two senior Pakistani army officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, on Saturday. The move blocked trade supplies to the neighboring landlocked country.
Chaman is one of the two border crossings between the neighbors and thousands of people use it daily to visit relatives on the other side. In addition to that, trade between the two countries can be badly hit due to the closure of the border in the restive province.
On Thursday evening, a massive explosion ripped through Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine while a large number of people had gathered for a special Sufi ritual. The blast killed at least 80 people, including 20 children, and wounded some 250 more in the city of Sehwan.
According to security officials, the assailant entered the main hall of the shrine and detonated his explosives in the middle of the crowd. The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Pakistani Muslims chant slogans during a protest in Karachi on February 17, 2017, against a bomb attack on the shrine of 13th century Muslim Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in the town of Sehwan, Sindh province. (Photo by AFP)
Pakistani authorities say terrorists infiltrate from Afghanistan into Pakistan through the border crossings. A few hours after the attack, Islamabad shut down Torkham border crossing, another key route which is one of the major international border crossings between the two countries.
Shortly after the tragic incident, Pakistan launched nationwide security raids against "terrorists," saying over 100 of them had been killed until Saturday.
On Friday, Pakistan's army said it had called in Afghan diplomats and gave them a list of 76 suspected "terrorists" who were hiding in Afghanistan, requesting swift action by Kabul.
In a tit-for-tat move, the Afghan government on Saturday summoned Pakistan's Ambassador to Kabul Abrar Hussain in protest to recent shelling in Afghanistan's eastern provinces.
Pakistan has been witnessing violent terrorist attacks over the past decade. Militants with the Pakistani Taliban have largely been blamed for the violence.

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Pakistan closes second major border crossing with Afghanistan

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