The Torkham border, a vital link facilitating trade and movement between Pakistan and Afghanistan, remains sealed for a second day following a heated altercation between the border forces of both countries on Wednesday morning.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson for the Afghan Taliban, detailed the events at the Torkham border to Independent Urdu on Thursday. He stated, “A minor firing incident occurred at the border, with initial reports from our forces indicating that the first shots were fired by Pakistan.” He expressed a commitment to engaging with Pakistani authorities to avoid similar occurrences in the future.
In contrast, Irshad Mehmand, a local administration officer in Pakistan, recounted a different scenario to the French news agency AFP. He claimed the conflict erupted when Afghan forces tried to establish a checkpoint in a mutually agreed neutral area, asserting that the initial gunfire from Afghan forces led to retaliation from the Pakistani side.
While the Afghan authorities admitted to casualties, specific details remain undisclosed. Although the gunfire ceased by Wednesday afternoon, tensions at the border are high, with forces on both sides maintaining high alert.
The continued closure of the vital Torkham crossing is hampering trade between the two nations, significantly impacting businesses dependent on cross-border transport of goods. Abdul Mateen Qani, a representative of the Afghan Taliban’s Ministry of Interior, acknowledged the economic repercussions, highlighting ongoing efforts to address the root causes of the clash and prevent future incidents.
This escalation is not isolated, with several documented clashes between the Pakistani security forces and the Afghan Taliban at the Torkham border following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul. These persistent tensions have resulted in frequent border closures, disrupting travelers and businesses reliant on the transportation of commercial goods, thereby incurring substantial losses.