Torkham crossing remains closed days after clashes disrupt trade

Pakistan’s primary border crossing with Afghanistan, Torkham, has experienced significant disruption to trade activities, with its closure persisting for three days as of Friday due to clashes between Pakistani and Taliban forces on Wednesday.

Torkham border point serves as the central transit hub for travelers and the transportation of goods between Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan.

On Thursday, hundreds of trucks laden with perishable goods queued up on the Pakistani side of the border. The complete trade flow has been adversely affected, causing disruptions in the loading of goods at the southern port of Karachi.

Abdul Majeed, a truck driver hailing from Afghanistan, recounted the harrowing situation, stating, “There was firing (yesterday) from that side and from this side, and all the trucks stopped. We hid under the vehicles. People were running here and there in the chaos. The gunfire stopped after one or one and a half hours. Now, the problem is that we don’t have any money to survive here.”

Shafeeq Khan, a shopkeeper in Peshawar, shared his experience, saying, “That first shop in the market is mine. I sell clothes. My home is in Afghanistan. Yesterday, we were working in the shop when, at around 11:00 am, the firing started. We hurriedly put everything inside the shop, locked up, and fled.”

Abdul Basir Zabuli, a spokesperson for the Taliban-led police in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province, where the crossing is located, stated that authorities from both countries are working to determine the cause of the clash.

Disputes related to the 2,600-kilometer (1,615-mile) border have been a longstanding source of contention between the neighboring nations for decades.