Afghan, Pakistani tribal elders to announce final decision on border dispute

ISLAMABAD — A joint tribal jirga representing communities from Afghanistan and Pakistan, aiming to resolve conflicts along the border, particularly at the Kharlachi crossing, will announce its final decision this Thursday.

Following earlier efforts by this jirga, a temporary ceasefire was reached between the Taliban and Pakistani border forces after several days of clashes in Dand-e-Patan and Zazi Aryub districts in Paktia.

Currently, the Afghanistan side of the jirga is in discussions with the Taliban, while the Pakistani side is engaging with its government.

Islamabad considers the barbed wire along the border as a security measure; however, many Afghans see it as an encroachment on their territory.

Two weeks ago, Taliban and Pakistani border forces engaged in a fierce battle for several days, leading to the closure of the Kharlachi border crossing. The intervention of the joint tribal jirga resulted in a short-term ceasefire and the reopening of the pass.

Although the jirga has not yet concluded its efforts, it has held additional meetings.

“There is a government on this side, and a government on the other side. We cannot cross from either side without repercussions. If this government makes a mistake, it must be addressed. If the other side makes a mistake, they must be asked to stop because Security brings benefit, not chaos,” a tribal Elder from Zazi Aryub district said.

“I swear, these borders will lead us to nowhere. We need to act with great intentions, with big hearts, and in the name of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to reach a resolution,” a tribal elder from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said.

The jirga’s focus has been on three key issues: stopping the conflict, reopening the Kharlachi border crossing, and establishing a joint committee for further consultations.

“For stability, we need three things: firstly, immediate security—without it, we cannot hold meetings. There must be peace and a ceasefire to create trust,” said a tribal elder from Zazi Aryub, Paktia.

Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have long been strained by tensions and accusations. However, the return of the Taliban to power has significantly heightened tensions. Islamabad accuses the Taliban of contributing to Pakistan’s insecurity and supporting Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

On Sunday, May 26, Pakistan’s interior minister called on the Taliban to arrest TTP leaders and hand them over to Islamabad.

Taliban, however, deny any role in Pakistan’s instability, asserting that the TTP is an internal issue for Pakistan.