Commercial transit resumes after brief closure of at Torkham border crossing

The Torkham border crossing, a crucial gateway for the transit of commercial goods, experienced hours of closure from midnight on Wednesday and was later reopened around 5 p.m. local time on the same day.

The closure, as reported by the Taliban commissioner in Torkham, resulted from Pakistani forces’ attempt to establish a new gate in Afghanistan, citing the installation of a plaque as a pretext.

This sudden closure led to a backlog of trucks on both sides of the crossing, causing congestion and accumulating thousands of containers carrying commercial and transit goods for Afghanistan.

Truck drivers expressed frustration, noting that this marked the third closure of the crossing in the past month.

At Torkham, hundreds of trucks laden with food and non-food items waited for the crossing to reopen. The Taliban commissioner highlighted that the crossing was closed on Tuesday night when Pakistani forces sought to create a new gate in Afghanistan, facing a reaction from the Taliban, leading to the closure of the crossing by Pakistani border guards.

Contrary reports from Pakistani media suggested that the Taliban closed the crossing at Safari point in protest against a new sign reading “Welcome to Pakistan.” However, the crossing was ultimately reopened to traffic on Wednesday evening.

The Torkham crossing has experienced recurrent closures in recent years, including a 10-day closure in September. Accusations of closure have been exchanged between the Taliban and Pakistan.

Truck drivers and traders, weary of the frequent disruptions, reported substantial financial losses. Most of Afghanistan’s transit goods enter the country through Pakistan’s Karachi and Wagah ports.

According to the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment, the closure of Torkham will result in significant financial losses for merchants, potentially leading to increased consumer prices due to the rising costs of transporting goods.