KABUL – The Torkham border crossing, situated on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, has resumed operations for pedestrians and vehicles, marking a significant development after a period of nine days of tension. This reopening took place on Friday, September 15, with information sourced from the AFP news agency and a statement by a senior official.
The crossing had been closed for over a week due to a reported cross-border raid originating from Afghanistan, allegedly carried out by a large group of Pakistan Taliban militants. The reopening follows prolonged diplomatic negotiations between Islamabad and Kabul, which had stalled in the wake of an altercation between Pakistani troops and Afghan border forces. This altercation also involved members of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) movement, and the dispute revolved around the construction of an Afghan outpost.
Irshad Khan Mohmamd, the assistant commissioner of Khyber district in Pakistan, provided an update, stating, “The clearance of trucks is in process, and Afghan citizens are entering Afghanistan after clearance and passing immigration processes,” as reported by AFP.
The closure of this vital border crossing had stranded numerous travelers and trucks, causing significant disruptions in trade and movement between the two nations. The Afghanistan side of the border, as per the AFP team, still had its gates closed, while a gathering of people awaited the opportunity to cross into Pakistan.
Traders lamented the closure, reporting substantial losses of perishable goods. Afghan travelers faced difficulties attending essential hospital appointments or catching flights out of Pakistan.
The report also indicated that more than 1,300 vehicles, including trucks and trailers, were waiting on the Pakistan side of the border.
Additionally, protests were held in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar region earlier in the week, with demonstrators expressing frustration over the repeated closure of the Torkham crossing by Islamabad during the fruit and vegetable season.
The tension escalated on September 6 when a gun battle erupted between Pakistani and Afghan border forces. Each side blamed the other for initiating the firefight. Islamabad has accused the Taliban, who have been in power in Kabul for two years, of harboring militants responsible for attacks on Pakistani soil. Conversely, Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities have consistently denied these allegations. On September 11, Pakistan asserted that “unprovoked firing by Afghan border security forces invariably emboldens the terrorist elements.”
This development at the Torkham border crossing is expected to have significant implications for trade and relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, as the two nations share a porous 2,600-kilometer frontier.