Trade resumes as Pakistan, Afghanistan reopen Torkham border

The Torkham border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan reopened to pedestrians and vehicles early Friday, more than a week after it was closed following a gun battle between frontier guards.

The border crossing was closed after Pakistan accused Afghanistan of construction of a new structure on its territory, leading to an exchange of fire between the security forces of the two countries.

“The clearance of trucks is in process and Afghan citizens are entering Afghanistan after clearance and passing immigration processes,” Irshad Khan Mohmamd, assistant commissioner of Khyber district said.

The crossing is the busiest for trade and people between the two nations, which share a porous 2,600-kilometre (1,600-mile) frontier that cuts through rugged mountains and valleys.

Traders on both sides complained that tons of perishable goods were lost because of the border closure.

The Pakistan foreign ministry said on Monday “unprovoked firing by Afghan border security forces invariably emboldens the terrorist elements”.

“Pakistan has continued to exercise restraint and prioritise dialogue in the face of persistent, unwarranted provocations by Afghan troops deployed along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border,” said spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch.

“On the 6th of September, instead of a peaceful resolution, Afghan troops resorted to indiscriminate firing, targeting Pakistan military posts, damaging the infrastructure at the Torkham Border Terminal, and putting the lives of both Pakistani and Afghan civilians at risk, when they were stopped from erecting such unlawful structures,” she commented.

She said that such unprovoked and indiscriminate firing on Pakistani border posts could not be justified under any circumstances.

Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan share 18 crossing points, the busiest of which are the Torkham and Chaman, which connect Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province with Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province.

Pakistan has seen an uptick in terrorist attacks since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in 2021.

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