Pak-Afghan tension intensifies amid border dispute

Pakistan has accused Afghan govt of constructing illegal structures at border crossing

ISLAMABAD  -  Tension between Pakistan and Af­ghanistan has intensified as Islam­abad yesterday accused Kabul of breaching Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Diplomatic sources told The Na­tion that Pakistan had conveyed the message in this regard to Afghani­stan besides issuing condemnations by the Foreign Office.

Pakistan has accused the Tali­ban-led government in Afghanistan of constructing illegal structures at a critical border crossing, asserting that it constitutes a breach of their territorial sovereignty. The Torkham border crossing, situated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has remained closed since last week following a clash be­tween their respective forces. This closure has left hundreds of trucks transporting essential goods strand­ed on both sides of the border. Paki­stani forces only responded to the firing from the Afghanistan side.

Over the weekend, the Taliban government accused Pakistan of fir­ing upon its troops while they were repairing an “old security post.” The Taliban government contended that Islamabad was causing hindrances and delays in the process of reopen­ing this transit point, emphasizing that such actions were detrimental to trade in Afghanistan, the region, and the national economy of Paki­stan, which heavily relies on exports.

Pakistan’s stance is centred on re­ports that Afghan forces were in­volved in the unauthorized construc­tion of a new border post, which triggered the exchange of fire be­tween the border guards last week. The Taliban reported the loss of two of its guards during this incident. The closure of the Torkham border cross­ing has occurred at a time when re­lations between the two nations are strained. Pakistan has consistently urged Afghanistan to take measures to control the movement of armed attackers and prevent them from en­tering its territory.

Afghanistan has consistently de­nied allegations that it allows its ter­ritory to be used as a launch-pad for armed groups to carry out attacks on other countries.

Pakistan’s claims come in the wake of a surge in armed attacks in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan since the Taliban came to power in 2021. Many of these attacks have been claimed by the outlawed Pakistan Taliban, also known as TTP, which shares ideo­logical alignment with the Taliban in Afghanistan. On the same day as the Torkham firing incident, the TTP claimed responsibility for attacking two military check-posts in the re­mote Chitral district of Khyber Pa­khtunkhwa province, resulting in the deaths of four Pakistani soldiers. Additionally, at least 12 TTP fighters lost their lives in these attacks.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pakistan pointed to “un­provoked and indiscriminate firing” by Afghan forces as the reason be­hind the closure of this crucial trade route connecting the two nations.

According to the FO statement, the situation escalated on Septem­ber 6th when Afghan troops, instead of pursuing a peaceful resolution, surprisingly engaged in indiscrimi­nate firing. FO spokesperson Mum­taz Zahra Baloich said they target­ed Pakistani military posts, causing damage to infrastructure at the Torkham Border Terminal. She said this action also placed the lives of both Pakistani and Afghan civilians in jeopardy, as the Afghan forces were prevented from erecting these contested structures. This official statement was made one day after attempts to negotiate the reopening of the Torkham crossing failed.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt