Home » Following a guards-fire exchange, the main Afghanistan-Pakistan border crossing was closed.

Following a guards-fire exchange, the main Afghanistan-Pakistan border crossing was closed.

by Noor Zaman
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The busiest commerce crossing between the South Asian neighbors is closed after a gun conflict broke out between Pakistani and Afghan forces.

According to sources, the main border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been shut down following gunfire between security troops from the two nations.

On Wednesday, locals on the Pakistani side of the border reported hearing gunfire beside the Torkham crossing, and they claimed that as the shooting began, everyone in the crowded border region close to the Khyber Pass fled.

According to Nasrullah Khan, the governor of Torkham, a town in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region, there were no reports of fatalities and it was not immediately clear why the border guards from the two sides opened fire.

He claimed that in order to ease tensions, Pakistani military and government representatives were in touch with their Afghan counterparts.

The main crossing point for people and cargo between Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan is at the Torkham border post.

The border crossing has been shut down numerous times recently, including once in February when thousands of vehicles carrying supplies were left stuck on both sides of the border for days.

An evacuation was ordered as gunfire broke out at the Torkham border crossing, located halfway between Islamabad and Kabul, at around 1 pm (08:00 GMT), according to a local Pakistani police spokesman.

“Both small and heavy weaponry are firing at us, but it’s unclear who is doing it. Another local government official confirmed that they were using mortars and added that one border guard had been hurt.

An escalated security issue caused the bridge to be closed from Pakistan’s side, according to local administration official Irshad Mohmand.

He told the AFP news agency that “Afghan forces attempted to establish a checkpoint in an area where it is agreed that neither side will establish a checkpoint.”

He added that the Pakistan border forces fired “retaliatory fire” after the Afghan soldiers opened fire following a protest from the Pakistani side.

An altercation between Afghan and Pakistani personnel was confirmed by Abdul Mateen Qani, the Taliban’s authorized spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior Affairs. He claimed that officials from both sides were working to determine what precipitated the altercation and how to avoid similar events in the future.

Numerous trucks carrying perishable goods, including fruits and vegetables, were reportedly waiting on both sides of the border for the reopening of the Torkham gate, according to Pakistani authorities.

Since the Taliban took back control of Kabul two years ago, relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been tense, with Islamabad accusing its neighbor of harboring fighters who carry out attacks on its territory.

For decades, disagreements over the 2,600 km (1,615 miles) of border have been a source of tension between the neighbors.

Two days prior to the border closure, Pakistan’s acting Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar claimed that military supplies left behind by the United States during its withdrawal from Afghanistan had found their way into the hands of armed individuals and into the hands of the Pakistani Taliban.

TTP, the shorthand for the Pakistani Taliban, has increased attacks on Pakistani security personnel in recent months. Although they are a distinct organization, they support the Afghan Taliban.

In August 2021, as US and NATO soldiers were frantically withdrawing from Afghanistan after 20 years of conflict, the Afghan Taliban seized control of the country.

Previous incidents at Torkham resulted from accusations between the two sides that the other was attempting to construct new posts along the boundary.

After the border was closed by Taliban authorities in February, a gunfight broke out at the crossing, with each side accusing the other of beginning the conflict.

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