Hundreds of trucks and passengers were stranded on Tuesday at the Torkham border, the main transit point for passengers and goods between Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan. CrossingA week later, the firing started between the security forces of the two countries.
Since then, Islamabad and Kabul have been locked in a diplomatic standoff as both accused each other of firing for the first time last Wednesday, worsening already strained relations between Islamabad and Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers.
The Pakistan side of the border – normally bustling with pedestrian and truck traffic – was deserted on Monday, with markets and offices closed and crowds of commuters taking refuge in nearby mosques.
The country is in the grip of an economic recession, while Afghanistan is still reeling from a massive withdrawal of foreign aid two years ago in response to the Taliban’s return to government.
Khyber District Deputy Commissioner Jamal Nasir said 1,300 vehicles, including trucks and trailers, were sitting idle waiting for the International Trade Center to reopen.
“Truckloads of fruits and vegetables have been returned as their goods were either rotten or prone to rotting,” he said. AFP.
Afghani Ghani Gul, 55, was still stuck in Pakistan six days after trying to return home after receiving medical treatment in Peshawar.
“I’m stuck here, and I have no money left,” he said. “Why am I suffering from border closure? Both countries should do whatever they want but at least leave the border open for common people.”
On the Afghan side, officials and residents staged a small protest on Monday, marching to the closed border gates.
Pakistan was one of the three countries that formally recognized the former Taliban government of 1996-2001.
This time Pakistan like everyone else has stopped recognizing it. Diplomatic relations have also been strained by frequent flare-ups along their border, including sporadic gun battles and closures of crossings.
Islamabad also complains that Kabul’s failure to secure its border — a colonial-era demarcation disputed by every Afghan government — has allowed terrorists to attack Pakistani soil. Is.
According to the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, attacks increased by nearly 80 percent in the first half of 2023 compared to the previous year.
The UN Security Council has said that the biggest threat to Islamabad is the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which Kabul considers part of its state and is given “safe haven and material and logistical support”.
Afghan officials have repeatedly denied the allegations.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said on Monday that “unprovoked firing by Afghan border security forces emboldens terrorist elements”.
“Pakistan has continued to exercise restraint and prioritize dialogue in the face of continued, unnecessary provocations by Afghan troops on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border,” spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said.
The Taliban government’s foreign ministry said over the weekend that Pakistan’s alleged attack on its border guards was “against good neighbourliness”.
A statement said that the closure of the gate cannot be justified under any circumstances.