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Kabul warns Islamabad over construction of gate at Torkham

I will leave Pakistan if Islamabad violated the terms regarding construction and ceasefire: Afghan Ambassador

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Criticizing Pakistan over violation of the mutual decision regarding construction of the gate at Torkham, Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, on Thursday warned that Islamabad would be responsible for any mishap or clash at Torkham.

On Wednesday, both Kabul and Islamabad agreed to ceasefire, and halt to construction of the gate at the crossing point. It was also decided that the two countries would take measures to reduce the tension.

The Afghan ambassador said that Pakistan has violated the decision made on Wednesday, warning that he would publically unveil all the secrets regarding Torkham.

He said that no agreement reached over restart of construction work by Pakistani military at Torkham and Afghanistan embassy has sent a letter to Pakistani military in this regard.

Zakhilwal said that the embassy had clearly mentioned in the letter that restart of the construction work by Pakistan is against Afghanistan’s expectations. Pakistan has claimed that it had started work over the gate after Afghanistan agreed to it on Wednesday. However, the Afghan ambassador said that it bore no reality. He objected to the claims of Pakistani military.

Afghan ambassador warned that if Pakistan did not stop the construction to address the issue through dialogues, then there will be no reason for continuation of his job as ambassador.

He said, “In this case I will make details about Torkham issue public and Pakistan will be responsible for any bad consequences. In the meeting with Pakistan’s relevant leadership on Torkham issue, we only agreed on ceasefire, not to erect fence or gate.”

Pointing to some clusters posting wrong information on social media networks regarding Afghan-Pak officials meeting, he termed it baseless.

“I have no the authority to make decisions in this aspect. My efforts are aimed to prevent war and de-escalate tension and pave the ground for negotiations,” he added.

He said that my meeting’s subject with Pakistani officials included ceasefire, negotiations between high ranking officials regarding the issue, resolving the problem through dialogue by delegations of the two countries, and complete halt to the construction work on the gate until the issue was resolved by the delegations.

The ambassador elaborated on his Facebook page that he just read a tweet by Geo News in which it says that based on a source the Afghan Ambassador in Islamabad in his meeting with Pakistan Army Chief on May 13, 2016 had agreed to construction of the gate at Torkham. “This is a lie.”

The discussion in that meeting was about an agreement that was reached between our Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Pakistan Army on December 13, 2015 in which our MoD-led delegation had given no objection to a fence the Pak Army planned to erect about a 100 meters from zero point towards Pakistan and in which the Pak Army delegation had agreed to vacate from the currently occupied positions in Angur Ada since they were inside Afghan territory. In that meeting it was also agreed that Pakistani security forces would transfer all the building faculties to the Afghan border police in Angur Ada.

Since then the fence at Torkham—the issue which was under discussion— has been erected and posts at Angur Ada were partly vacated. The currently planned gates that sparked fighting at Torkham were brought for discussion to the Afghan defense ministry only two days ago at Torkhan, “to which our side did not agree but the Pak Army went ahead to construct the gate anyway. This led to confrontation and then to the unfortunate firefight.”



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