Afghan Taliban reopen Torkham border crossing

Pakistani authorities likely to follow suit after key border crossing remained closed for four days

News Desk February 23, 2023
Afghan Taliban reopen Torkham border crossing

The Afghan Taliban on Thursday reopened the Torkham border crossing with Pakistan, allowing thousands of trucks to bring in essential items via the main trade route between the two neighbouring countries, officials said.

Pakistani authorities have said they would also open their side of the crossing after completing "administrative requirements".

The Torkham border crossing, located in eastern Afghanistan, is a critical route for trade and transit between the two countries and its closure had caused severe disruptions to the delivery of essential goods.

Read more: Pakistan delegation visits Kabul to discuss security concerns

Thousands of trucks have been stuck at the border since the closure, causing massive losses to traders of both countries. Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi, director of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that up to 6,000 trucks loaded with goods had been stuck on both sides since Sunday.

The decision to reopen the border crossing came a day after a high-level Pakistani delegation, led by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, visited Kabul to discuss security and other matters.

Asif was accompanied on the unannounced visit to the Afghan capital by Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt General Nadeem Anjum, Foreign Secretary Asad Majid and Special envoy on Afghanistan Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq.

The Pakistani delegation managed to secure a “fresh commitment” from the Afghan Taliban on tackling the renewed threat posed by banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) during the meeting.

Also read: Closure of Torkham crossing stirs alarm

The two sides discussed the closure of the Torkham crossing, which the Taliban claim was due to immigration issues faced by Afghans on the Pakistani side.

The visit came against the backdrop of a surge in terrorist attacks in Pakistan. Recent terrorist attacks in Peshawar Police Lines and Karachi Police Office had compelled Pakistani authorities to reach out to the Afghan Taliban.

The Taliban, who took control of Afghanistan in August 2021, has faced a host of challenges, including a deteriorating economy and a humanitarian crisis.


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