Trade, pedestrian movement resume at Torkham after 10 days

The Torkham border can be seen in this picture as people and vehicles cross the border. — AFP/File
The Torkham border can be seen in this picture as people and vehicles cross the border. — AFP/File

In a significant development, the Torkham border between Pakistan and Afghanistan Friday reopened for all types of traffic after a 10-day closure prompted by a gun battle between frontier guards.

Following the resumption of traffic at the border, pedestrian movement has also begun with scores of travellers gathering at the immigration section, hoping to make their way into Afghanistan.

Speaking about the development with AFP, Khyber Assistant Commissioner Irshad Khan Mohmamd, said: “The clearance of trucks is in process and Afghan citizens are entering Afghanistan after clearance and passing immigration processes.”

A government official, a day earlier, told Geo News about the possibility of the border reopening today.

“The Torkham border will be opened for trade from tomorrow,” customs officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, adding that the import, and export including the passageway of transit vehicles will be restored from Friday onwards.

The officials also added that “thousands of cargo cars” have been stuck on both sides of the border for nine days. They added that the border will also be opened for foot traffic.

The decision came after Acting Afghanistan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met the Head of the Pakistan Mission in Kabul, Ubaid Ur Rehman Nizamani.

In the meeting, the Afghan authorities assured Pakistan that Afghan soil would not be used against Pakistan.

Sources, privy to the decision, said the decision to reopen the border came after this meeting.

The Torkham border between Pakistan and Afghanistan was closed following a clash between the security forces of the two countries, which left a Frontier Corps soldier injured.

This dispute arose over the “illegal construction” of a bunker by the interim Afghanistan government.

Pakistani authorities had requested the Afghan side to halt the construction, citing it as a violation of international law, an official performing duty at the Torkham border had told The News on the condition of anonymity.

However, the Afghan authorities did not heed this request. Consequently, the border was closed due to the escalating tensions stemming from this construction dispute.

He added that several mortar shells were fired from the Afghan side, which landed at the offices of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Customs and other official workplaces.

The official added that a mortar shell also hit a mosque on the Pakistani side of the border while another landed in the Bacha Mena border village. However, these did not cause any casualties.

He added gunfire started at 2pm and continued for around three hours resulting in FC soldier Maqsood, sustaining bullet injuries and was taken to a hospital.

In the midst of this border dispute, a significant number of individuals found themselves stranded on both sides of the border. Among them were travellers, patients, women, and children, as well as trucks, some of which were loaded with goods.

The situation led to the closure of hundreds of government and private offices as a precautionary safety measure.

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