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Torkham border crossing closed following gunfire

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Kabul: Torkham, the main border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, has been closed with local media reporting gunfire near the border transit point.

It was not immediately clear whether Afghan or Pakistani authorities closed the Torkham border crossing, near the Khyber Pass, but Monday’s move comes after relations between Afghanistan’s rulers and Pakistan deteriorated sharply.

The Associated Press quoting a senior Afghan official at Torkham that Pakistan has not been abiding by its “commitments … so the crossing point was shut down”.

He advised Afghans to avoid travelling to the crossing, located on Afghanistan’s side in the country’s eastern Nangarhar province, until further notice.

Pakistani police official also confirmed the border closure and what they described as intermittent exchanges of fire at Torkham, located in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Clashes on the border have occurred for years, during the two-decade rule of Afghanistan’s US-backed government and since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021.

Clashes between Afghan and Pakistani security forces have also at times closed the second most important crossing between the two countries.

Pakistan has witnessed a surge in armed attacks since November, when the Pakistan Taliban, known by the TTP, ended a months-long ceasefire agreement with the government.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari recently said at the Munich Security Conference that the risks of armed fighting stemming from Afghan soil could affect the world.

Afghanistan foreign ministry spokesperson said later Pakistan should raise issues in private and not at public forums. The ministry added that the Afghan administration would not allow its territory to be used against other countries, particularly against its neighbours.

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