Pakistan-Afghanistan border closed

Afghan nationals staying at mosques waiting for reopening of Pak-Afghan border-Photo Courtesy Sudhir Afridi

Afghan nationals staying at mosques waiting for reopening of the Pak-Afghan border (Photo: Sudhir Afridi)

By Nasir Aijaz
The AsiaN Representative

ISLAMABAD: Entire trade activities between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been suspended since last five days following the closure of Torkham Border due to unprovoked firing and illegal construction of a check-post by the Taliban authorities.

Pakistan authorities had closed the Torkham border after the Taliban opened fires from the Afghan side of border where they are constructing a check-post close to the border in violation of the agreements between the two countries.

According to the reports, Pakistan had objected time and again but the Afghan Komisar (Commissioner) Asmat Helmandi, allegedly supported by the Governor of Nangarhar province, was adamant to build the check-post. Certain reports suggest that Afghan border guards opened fires from the under-construction check-post, which were retaliated by Pakistan soldiers.

Afghan nationals staying at mosques waiting for reopening of Pak-Afghan border-Photo Courtesy Sudhir Afridi

Afghan nationals staying at mosques waiting for reopening of Pak-Afghan border (Photo: Sudhir Afridi)

The sources said that the Helmand Group of Taliban controls the areas bordering Pakistan.

As a result of this incident the Pakistan authorities closed the Torkham border forthwith. The closure of Torkham border has caused severe financial losses to the traders from both sides.

Mr. Sudhir Afridi, a journalist based in Landi Kotal, a nearest town of Torkham border, told that more than 300 trucks carrying onion, tomatoes and grape for Pakistan market had to return from the border to Jalalabad, an Afghan city, while a large number of trucks are awaiting reopening of the border.

Life comes to stand still at Pak-Afghan border - Photo Courtesy Sudhir Afridi

Life comes to stand still at Pak-Afghan border (Photo: Sudhir Afridi)

On Pakistan side, scores of trucks loaded with bananas, chicken and other commodities are stuck up. “150 trucks are awaiting opening of border at Landikotal town surroundings. Many others are parked along the road near Michni Check post while a large number of other trucks were returned back to Peshawar on the very first day of border closure,” Afridi said.

“The traders from both sides have sustained financial losses worth billions of rupees,” he added.

Hundreds of people from both sides cross the Torkham border for business purpose, or meeting relatives and availing treatment facilities at Pakistani hospitals. “All those who had crossed the border before the clashes and closure of border, are struck up on Pakistan side. Many of them are staying in mosques having no alternate accommodation, for whom the local administration arranged food on first day and then they are being looked after by the social workers,” Sudhir Afridi said.

Pakistan-Afghanistan Border at Torkham- Photo Courtesy Sudhir Afridi

Pakistan-Afghanistan Border at Torkham (Photo: Sudhir Afridi)

Torkham border is one of the many points from where wheat-flour, wheat, sugar and several other commodities and even the US dollars are smuggled out to Afghanistan causing severe shortage and price escalation in local markets of Pakistan.

It is worth mentioning that on the same day (September 6), the TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) terrorists had attacked not only the army check posts but captured some villages in Chitral District of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhaw province.

‘The Khorasan Diary’, an Islamabad-based digital media platform, quoted an unnamed spokesman and a TTP Commander, as saying on September 6, the Defence Day of Pakistan, that ‘’TTP fighters in large number entered Chitral District of Khyber Pakhtunkaw which borders Afghanistan’s Kunar, Nuristan and Badakhshan provinces.”

“An operation in Chitral District has been launched by TTP and various villages have been captured. The operation started at 4a.m (On September 6). We will share pictures as well, as currently we are having poor internet issue,” a key TTP Commander was quoted as saying on phone.

The TTP terrorist attack was however repulsed by Pakistan Army, but the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), public relations wing of Pakistan Army, confirmed that four soldiers martyred during the attack.

Another view of Pakistan-Afghanistan Border at Torkham- Photo Courtesy Sudhir Afridi

Another view of Pakistan-Afghanistan Border at Torkham- (Photo : Sudhir Afridi)

“On 6 September 2023, a large group of terrorists equipped with the latest weapons, attacked two Pakistani military posts located closer to Pakistan Afghanistan border in general area Kalash, District Chitral.”

ISPR added that the soldiers fought bravely and repulsed the attacks, inflicting heavy casualties on the terrorists. During the fire exchange, 12 terrorists were sent to hell, while a large number of the militants were critically injured, the statement added.

The military’s media wing also said that the terrorists’ movement and concentration in the Gawardesh, Pitigal, Barg-e-Matel and Batash areas of Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan had been identified and timely shared with the interim Afghan government.

“Owing to heightened threat environment, our posts were already on high alert,” it said.

ISPR stated that the clearing of the area was being carried out to eliminate any other terrorists found in the area.

The brave people of Chitral also stood firmly with the security forces in restricting the terrorists from ruining the peace of the area.

“Interim Afghan Government is expected to fulfill its obligations and deny the use of Afghan soil by terrorists for perpetuating acts of terrorism against Pakistan,” the ISPR statement concluded.

Pakistan Army in Chitral area -Photo Courtesy ISPR

Pakistan Army in Chitral area (Photo: ISPR)

The attack came days after, Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir vowed that the nation cannot be “coerced” by “cowardly tactics of the terrorists” who hold the “misbelief that they can challenge the iron resolve of the soldiers and writ of the state”.

As per the military’s media wing, the army chief passed the remarks while visiting Bannu area of Khyber Pakhtunkhaw province where, a day earlier, nine soldiers were martyred when a suicide bomber exploded himself near a military convoy in the Jani Khel area.

Search in Site