Pakistan, Afghanistan reopen crossing after 9-day closure
Islamabad shuttered the key crossing after an exchange of fire between the two countries. Pakistan accuses Afghanistan of failing to control the border, allowing militants to cross
Pakistan and Afghanistan have reopened a key border-crossing nearly equidistant from the two countries' capitals, after some nine days of closure following an exchange of fire between border guards on both sides.
Officials from the two countries told news agencies that the Torkham crossing was reopened on Friday and traffic was resuming, for the first time since September 6.
"A series of talks between Pakistani and Afghan officials resolved the issue and the border was opened," the Reuters news agency quoted a security official in Torkham as saying on condition of anonymity.
Afghanistan's commissioner in Torkham, Ismatullah Yaqoob, told the Associated Press news agency that stranded trucks and pedestrians have started passing through the border.
What was the impact of the border closure?
Thousands of loaded vehicles had been stuck on both sides of the border crossing, the busiest for trade and people between the two countries.
Afghan travelers meanwhile said they missed vital hospital appointments or flights out of Pakistan. Officials said over 1,300 vehicles lined up on the Pakistan side waiting to cross, including trucks and trailers.
On both sides, traders complained of losing tons of perishable goods due to the closure.
"The reopening has ended the nine-day-long trouble faced by traders on both sides of the border," Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, a representative from the Pakistan and Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce, told the AP news agency.
Earlier this week, officials and residents on the Afghan side staged a small protest, calling for reopening the border.
Why was the border closed?
The friction at the border came after Pakistan accused the Taliban administration of trying to encroach on its territory by constructing an "unlawful structure" and accusing Taliban forces of "indiscriminate firing."
The Taliban Foreign Ministry meanwhile said border troops were only fixing an old security outpost near the border, saying Pakistan security forces had fired on them.
The border crossing has been a source of tension between the two countries, with Islamabad often accusing Kabul of failing to secure its borders and thus allowing militants to cross and fire on Pakistani territory. Afghanistan rejects these accusations.
Published: 15 Sep 2023, 1:49 PM