The recent closure of the Torkham border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan due to clashes between their security forces is a troubling development that underscores the deteriorating relations between the two neighbouring nations. This incident not only threatens peace and stability in the region but also disrupts vital trade routes and exposes the inability of the Afghan government to maintain control over its territory.
The Torkham border crossing is a critical point of transit for both travellers and goods between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Its closure has become an unfortunate recurring event, leaving thousands of trucks laden with goods stranded on both sides. The repercussions of such closures extend far beyond inconvenience, as they cause substantial economic losses for traders and businesses on both sides of the border.
The root cause of this recent clash lies in the construction of a checkpoint by Afghan forces in a prohibited area, despite Pakistan’s earlier request to halt such actions due to violations of international laws. The communication gap between the two countries has been evident, with diplomacy failing to prevent the escalation of tensions.
A glaring issue that needs attention is the shortsightedness of the civil-military bureaucracy in Pakistan. While they celebrated and supported the return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan, they seemed to overlook the fine line between the ideologies of the Taliban, the TTP, and other extremist organisations. The Afghan government’s inability to root out these terrorist outfits from its soil has created a volatile situation that poses a direct threat to Pakistan’s security.
Furthermore, the marginalisation of border areas with Afghanistan has allowed sovereignty gaps to persist, making these regions fertile ground for extremist ideologies and individuals. These gaps in sovereignty have created ideal sanctuaries for groups like the TTP to operate with relative ease, posing a significant challenge to regional security.
It is imperative that both Afghanistan and Pakistan take immediate diplomatic initiatives to de-escalate tensions and address the root causes of these clashes. Clear communication and a commitment to abiding by mutually agreed-upon laws along the border are essential steps towards resolving these disputes. Additionally, international mediation may be necessary to facilitate dialogue and ensure a peaceful resolution.