The Torkham border crossing, a vital link between Pakistan and Afghanistan, has reopened for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic following a nine-day closure due to a clash between the two nations’ security forces. Muhammad Anas, an official in Pakistan’s Khyber district, confirmed this development. He is located at the border crossing site.
Anas reported that the border gates reopened on Friday after 7:30 am, and immigration and custom officials resumed their usual duties. They allowed both pedestrian and vehicular traffic to pass through. Afghan officials in Nangarhar province on the other side of the border also confirmed the reopening of this vital crossing.
The closure of the Torkham border on September 6 followed a deadly exchange of fire between Pakistani and Afghan border forces, resulting in the death of at least two Afghan soldiers and injuries to several others. Pakistan accused Afghanistan of constructing illegal structures near the crossing and blamed unprovoked and indiscriminate firing by Afghan forces for the closure.
In contrast, the Taliban government in Afghanistan rejected these allegations, asserting that they were only renovating an old security post when Pakistani security forces opened fire on them. The Taliban held Islamabad responsible for causing delays and obstructions in reopening the transit point.
Qari Nazim Gul of the All-Pakistan Customs Agents Association highlighted the significant financial losses incurred by traders during the closure, amounting to millions of rupees. He emphasized the adverse impact on those seeking to earn a livelihood or simply wanting to reunite with their families.
Border officials have increased security measures at the crossing following the shooting incident. However, relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan remain strained, with Pakistan repeatedly accusing Afghan officials of harboring members of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) armed group. Afghan authorities refute these charges, asserting that they do not allow any armed groups to use their territory for launching attacks on neighboring countries.
In recent months, the TTP, ideologically aligned with the Afghan Taliban, has escalated its attacks on Pakistani security forces. On the same day the Torkham border closed, the group killed four Pakistani soldiers and suffered 12 casualties in an attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Chitral district.