Afghan government says it retakes Pakistan border crossing from Taliban

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Afghan security forces have retaken control of a major southern border crossing with Pakistan that the Taliban briefly captured, a senior Afghan government official said on Thursday, but the Taliban dismissed that saying they still held the town.

Taliban fighters captured the Spin Boldak-Chaman border crossing on Wednesday, the second most important crossing on the border with Pakistan and a major source of revenue for the Western-backed government in Kabul.

But Afghan forces retook the area’s main market, the customs department and other government installations in the border town a few hours later on Wednesday, a senior government official in the southern province of Kandahar, where the crossing is located, told Reuters.

Government forces, who had initially fallen back to minimise civilian and security personnel losses, were conducting clearing operations, the official said.

He warned that the threat remained high as Taliban fighters outnumbered Afghan security forces in the area.

But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said his forces still held the border post.

“It is merely propaganda and a baseless claim by the Kabul administration,” he told Reuters.

Pakistan, worried about a spillover of fighting, had shut its side of the border at the second busiest border crossing on the main commercial artery between the second Afghan city of Kandahar and Pakistani ports.

Clashes between the Taliban and government forces have intensified as U.S.-led international forces have been withdrawing and the Taliban have captured several districts and other border crossings in the north and west.

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