KABUL – Tensions flared at the Torkham checkpoint on Wednesday as clashes erupted between Afghan army personnel and Pakistani border guards. The sound of gunfire sent local residents on the Pakistani side scrambling for safety near the Khyber Pass border area.
On Wednesday, the situation escalated at the Torkham border crossing, which stands midway between Islamabad and Kabul, prompting an evacuation order. Pakistani security sources have confirmed the closure of the main border crossing between the two nations due to an exchange of fire between their respective security forces. This closure marks another instance of the crossing being shut in recent years, with a previous closure in February causing significant delays for cargo trucks on both sides.
Thankfully, there have been no reported casualties thus far. The reasons behind the exchange of fire remain unclear, as Nasrullah Khan, an official in Torkham, stated. Torkham is a critical checkpoint facilitating trade and transit between Pakistan and Afghanistan, with Islamabad relying on it for shipping commercial goods to Central Asia.
Both nations are grappling with severe economic challenges. Afghanistan is facing a funding shortfall following the conclusion of the US-backed occupation, while Pakistan is dealing with domestic economic troubles and soaring inflation. This incident follows a gun battle at the same crossing in February when the Taliban authorities ordered its closure, with both sides pointing fingers at each other as the conflict escalated.