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The closed Torkham gate is seen from the zero point at the Torkham border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, in Nangarhar province on February 23, 2023. (Photo by Shafiullah KAKAR / AFP)

Torkham Border Closed Amid Dispute Over New Gate Construction

AT Kabul: The Torkham border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan has been closed due to a dispute over the construction of a new gate, according to a Pakistani official. The closure is a result of a verbal clash between border security forces from both countries.

The disagreement arose as Pakistan was constructing a new gate near the border, and the Afghan Taliban objected to the signboard that read ‘Welcome to Pakistan.’ Pakistani media outlets have reported that the closure was a response to objections raised by Taliban forces, who had installed a sign at the entrance of the crossing. In response to this objection, Pakistani border guards closed the crossing.

Quraishi Baloun, the Information Officer of the Department of Information and Culture in Nangarhar province, confirmed the closure of the Torkham border crossing by Pakistani officials. Taliban officials also mentioned that the group opposed the installation of the sign, leading to the closure by Pakistani border guards.

While there have been no official statements from Pakistani authorities, the closure of the Torkham crossing raises concerns among traders. Torkham is a crucial border crossing, handling hundreds of cargo trucks transporting commercial goods daily between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This closure occurs amid the interim government of Pakistan implementing a stringent plan to deport Afghan citizens, with thousands being forcibly expelled from the country daily. The development takes place at a time when Asef Durrani, Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, reported discussions with U.S. officials regarding Afghan migrants.

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