Thursday, September 14, 2023
KHYBER/ISLAMABAD: After a more than week’s closure since cross-border attacks in Chitral, the Torkham border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is likely to reopen today (Friday), Geo News has learnt.
“The Torkham border will be opened for trade from tomorrow,” customs officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Geo News on Thursday. They added that import, and export including the passageway of transit vehicles will be restored from Friday onwards.
The officials also added that “thousands of cargo cars” have been stuck on both sides of the border for nine days. They added that the border will also be opened for foot traffic.
The decision came after Acting Afghanistan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met the Head of the Pakistan Mission in Kabul, Ubaid Ur Rehman Nizamani.
In the meeting, the Afghan authorities assured Pakistan that Afghan soil would not be used against Pakistan.
Sources, privy to the decision, said the decision to reopen the border came after this meeting.
Last week, The News had reported that the Torkham border between Pakistan and Afghanistan was closed following a clash between the security forces of the two countries, which left a Frontier Corps soldier injured.
This dispute arose over the construction of a bunker by the interim Afghanistan government on the Afghan side, specifically on a hilltop near the border.
Pakistani authorities had requested the Afghan side to halt the construction, citing it as a violation of international law, an official performing duty at the Torkham border had told The News on the condition of anonymity.
However, the Afghan authorities did not heed this request. Consequently, the border was closed due to the escalating tensions stemming from this construction dispute.
He added that several mortar shells were fired from the Afghan side, which landed at the offices of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Customs and other official workplaces.
The official added that a mortar shell also hit a mosque on the Pakistani side of the border while another landed in the Bacha Mena border village. However, these did not cause any casualties.
He added gunfire started at 2pm and continued for around three hours resulting in FC soldier Maqsood, sustaining bullet injuries and was taken to a hospital.
In the midst of this border dispute, a significant number of individuals found themselves stranded on both sides of the border. Among them were travellers, patients, women, and children, as well as trucks, some of which were loaded with goods.
The situation led to the closure of hundreds of government and private offices as a precautionary safety measure.