AT News Report
KABUL: Afghan and Pakistani authorities on Wednesday launched round-the-clock operations at a key crossing post as the two countries aim to boost bilateral and transit trade.
Senior Afghan officials and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan formally inaugurated the Torkham crossing through which about 10,000 people cross daily.
The move is also aimed at repairing strained relations between the two South Asian countries, which share a nearly 2,600km (approximatey 1,600 miles) crossings.
Previously, the crossing remained operational for 12 hours only, which created disruption for truckers on either side and a difficult situation for patients that could not cross the border overnight, Aljazeera reported.
For the first time, Torkham crossing will be reopened round the clock to improve bilateral trade transit and facilitate the movement of travelers.
Upgrades to the terminal began after President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Pakistan in June. During his visit, he called on Imran Khan to ease trade between the two countries through the crossing points.
Habib Rehman, a local trader, told Pakistani newspaper that local trade between the two countries had decreased considerably in the recent years adding that it would take some time to “reap” the benefits of 24/7 opening.
The opening will be accompanied by the inauguration of the Pakistan-Afghan Friendship Hospital at Torkham, Dawn reported. Afghans arriving via the crossing point will be provided medical facilities in the hospital.