Asia - Pacific

Pakistan reopens key border crossing with Afghanistan after 10 days

Torkham border fully reopens for trade, transit, pedestrian movement from both sides, says Pakistani official

Islamuddin Sajid  | 15.09.2023 - Update : 15.09.2023
Pakistan reopens key border crossing with Afghanistan after 10 days


Pakistan on Friday reopened a key border crossing with neighboring Afghanistan for travelers and all types of traffic after 10 days of closure, an official said.

The Torkham border, which connects Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, was shut down on Sept. 6 after skirmishes between border security forces of the two countries.

"Yes, the border has reopened this morning for travelers and transport," Abdullah Khan, a local Pakistani official at the border, told Anadolu.

The closure by Islamabad of the Torkham border, one of the two main crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan, has caused heavy losses to already depreciating trade between the two neighbors, as Torkham is one of the busiest trade routes between Islamabad and Kabul.

The trade volume between landlocked Afghanistan and its southern neighbor has been mostly affected by terrorist attacks in Pakistan that Islamabad blames on Afghanistan-based militants, leading to the closure of border crossings.

According to the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce, trade between the two countries amounted to $2.5 billion in 2010 but dropped to $1.6 billion before settling at slightly over $1.8 billion in 2022-23.

The latest standoff erupted last week after Taliban guards began constructing a new security post near the Torkham border, which Pakistan considers a violation of mutual agreements.

However, on Thursday a senior Pakistani diplomat in Kabul, Obaidul Rehman Nizamani, met with acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan and agreed to reopen the border and resolve the issues through diplomatic channels.

"(During the meeting various topics (including) the problems of Torkham gate, the arrest of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and the issue of Afghan businessmen in Karachi were discussed and both sides emphasized that measures should be taken as soon as possible to solve the above issues, and to prevent such incidents from happening in the future," said Hafiz Zia Ahmad, deputy spokesman of Foreign Ministry in Kabul.

Pakistan has seen an uptick in terrorist attacks since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in 2021.

Islamabad accuses Kabul of harboring Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the mother network of several Pakistani militant groups, a charge the latter denies.

Last week, at least four Pakistani soldiers and over a dozen militants were killed in clashes with TTP militants in the Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which borders neighboring Afghanistan.

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