pakistan,-afghanistan-reopen-torkham-border-crossing-after-week-long-shutdown-amid-tensions

Operations across the Pakistan and Afghanistan border crossing, Torkham, fully resumed on early Saturday (February 25). Over a thousand trucks carrying food and pharmaceuticals crossed the key border opening nearly a week after Taliban authorities shut the busiest trading waypoint. This comes amid tensions which have frequently flared up between Kabul and Islamabad as the latter has accused the former of harbouring militants carrying out attacks in Pakistan, which the Taliban have denied. 

The Torkham border crossing was reopened as of 6:00 am (local time), said Afghan customs official Muslim Khaksar, as per AFP. According to reports, previously, the Pakistan government had only opened the border to pedestrians. The border crossing in question is a key point of transit for people and goods between Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan. 

This comes after the Taliban authorities shut the border last week, on Sunday, and claimed that a new document by the Pakistan government restricts attendants of medical patients from entering Islamabad. However, the Pakistani government has neither confirmed nor denied this rule change. 

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Director Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI), Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi also confirmed that all vehicular movement including that of cargoes has started. Earlier,  Sarhadi had said that this closure has led to enormous losses to exporters and businessmen. Furthermore, reports suggest that the Afghan side opened the gate on Thursday, while the Pakistan side remained closed. 

“Trucks carrying rice, cement, construction material, medicines and other edibles were sent to Afghanistan,” a Pakistani customs official told AFP. While lorries loaded with coal, vegetables and fruits have entered Pakistan, he added. The Pakistani official also said that around 1,400 trucks on the Pakistan side were still waiting to cross into Afghanistan. 

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This also comes after a gunfight erupted between Afghan Taliban forces and Pakistani border guards, last Monday, which left one Pakistani soldier injured. On February 22, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asid and the Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan (ISI) Nadeem Anjum held talks with the Taliban government to counter the “threat of terrorism” in Kabul. 

(With inputs from agencies) 

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