Print Print 2023-02-26

Trade resumes after key border crossing reopens

  • Around 1,400 trucks on the Pakistan side still waiting to cross into Afghanistan, an official says
Published February 26, 2023

JALALABAD: Trucks carrying food and pharmaceuticals crossed through a key border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan after it reopened Saturday, almost a week after Taliban authorities shut the busiest trading waypoint.

Relations between the two nations have soured since the Taliban took power in August 2021, with Islamabad accusing its neighbor of harbouring militant groups that have carried out strikes on its soil — a charge Kabul denies.

There have been frequent flare-ups along the mostly mountainous dividing line splitting the countries — which no Afghan government has ever recognised — including sporadic gunfights and closures.

The Torkham border crossing was reopened as of 6:00 am (0130 GMT) Saturday, Afghan customs official Muslim Khaksar said at the waypoint in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province.

Torkham border crossing closed, residents report gunfire

“The border is now open from both sides for civilians as well as for traders,” he said

“Trucks carrying rice, cement, construction material, medicines, and other edibles were sent to Afghanistan,” a Pakistani customs official said, adding that lorries loaded with coal, vegetables, and fruits had entered Pakistan.

Around 1,400 trucks on the Pakistan side were still waiting to cross into Afghanistan, he added.

The crossing was closed by Afghan authorities late Sunday, who objected to what they said were new documentation rules restricting attendants of medical patients from entering Pakistan. Pakistani officials never confirmed or denied a rule change. A gunfight erupted at the crossing between border guards from the two countries on Monday morning, with both sides blaming each other for initiating the violence.

On Saturday, attendants were allowed to enter Pakistan after showing their Afghan identity cards, the Pakistani customs official said.

Both nations are in economic turmoil, with Afghanistan reeling from a drop-off in aid after the fall of the US-backed government, and Pakistan hammered by ballooning energy prices and a foreign exchange crisis.

Since the Taliban’s return, Pakistan has witnessed a rise in attacks on its soil, especially in the regions bordering Afghanistan.

But two separate attacks in January and February in the major cities of Peshawar and Karachi killed dozens of people — mostly police — and were linked to the Pakistani Taliban, which has deep ties with its Afghan namesake.

On Wednesday, a high-level delegation from Pakistan visited Kabul to discuss ways to counter the threat of militant attacks.


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Nafis Feb 26, 2023 11:31am
Its a matter of concern for the citizens in Pakistan that their trade policies, exchange rates and even security matters are being decided by a neighbor in Kabul.
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Abdul Waheed Feb 26, 2023 03:11pm
I think this good . Pakistan need peace If we want to improve our people life style better. Hopefully this step also help reduce the inflation in Pakistan . I read the news on that inflation has reached 41% . It is really concerning news for poor people . Peace is the way of progress prosperity
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