Torkham border crossing closed after guards exchange fire

Torkham border

ISLAMABAD: Torkham border, the primary border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, has been closed following an exchange of fire between security forces from both nations

Local residents situated on the Pakistani side reported gunfire near the Torkham crossing on Wednesday. Many individuals in the vicinity of the bustling border region adjacent to the Khyber Pass hastily evacuated when the gunfire erupted.

Fortunately, there have been no reported casualties, and the motive behind the firefight remains unknown. Nasrullah Khan, an official in Torkham, a town situated in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, stated that Pakistani government and military authorities have initiated contact with their Afghan counterparts to ease the escalating tensions, according to Al-Jazeera.

The Torkham border point serves as the primary conduit for travelers and goods between Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan. This border crossing has experienced multiple closures in recent years, including a shutdown in February, which resulted in thousands of laden trucks stranded on both sides of the border for an extended period.

Pakistani authorities have disclosed that numerous trucks carrying perishable items, such as vegetables and fruits, are currently awaiting the reopening of the Torkham crossing on both sides of the border.

Afghan forces flee after Pakistan Army thwarts small arms attack at Torkham border

Tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan have persisted since the Taliban regained control of Kabul two years ago. Islamabad has accused its neighbor of sheltering militants who carry out attacks on Pakistani soil. Disputes pertaining to the 2,600-kilometer (1,615-mile) border have remained a longstanding source of contention between these neighboring nations.

This border closure comes just two days after Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister, Anwaar ul Haq Kakar, asserted that military equipment left behind by the United States during its withdrawal from Afghanistan has fallen into the hands of armed groups and subsequently made its way to the Pakistani Taliban.

Previous clashes at Torkham have arisen from mutual accusations of attempting to construct new posts along the border. Pakistan maintains that it has finished fencing along 97 percent of the border to deter cross-border attacks and smuggling.

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