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(Last Updated On: September 10, 2023)

The Islamic Emirate’s foreign ministry said late Saturday in a statement that the ongoing closure of Torkham border crossing and the firing on Afghan border guards by Pakistan troops was contrary to good neighborly relations.

The ministry said Pakistan border guards opened fire on IEA forces while they were repairing an old security outpost. The incident took place on Wednesday, resulting in the immediate closure to all traffic through the key Afghanistan-Pakistan border crossing.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan deems the closure of Torkham gate and opening of fire on Afghan security forces by the Pakistani side contrary to good neighborliness,” the statement read.

Hundreds of trucks laden with goods have been halted and traders have complained that trade is affected, resulting in millions of afghanis (AFN) in losses.

“The closure of Torkham gate can adversely affect bilateral and regional trade, and cause trade and financial losses to common mercantile class on both sides,” the statement said, adding many travelers were also stuck on each side of the border.

Disputes linked to the 2,600 km border have been a bone of contention between the neighbors for decades.

The ministry noted that there had been other incidents regarding cross-border trade recently. Earlier this month a truck loaded with figs was on route to India from Afghanistan through Wagah border, when it was set on fire near a Pakistani police checkpoint.

Trust was also undermined in an incident in Karachi port recently when Pakistani authorities stopped hundreds of containers en route to Afghanistan under the pretext of the cargo being on a “sensitive list”, the ministry said.

“Unfortunately, contrary to previous promises and commitments under international laws, the Pakistani side often creates hindrances at Karachi port and closes the doors under unjustified pretexts during the advent of Afghan agricultural crops and fruits season,” read the statement.

The ministry said that shutting the door doesn’t only affect the trade between the two countries, but also increases the distance between the brotherly people and countries, and causes hindrances and delays in the trade and transit of the entire region.

Meanwhile hundreds of travelers, including women, children and the elderly, are stranded on both sides of Torkham crossing, the ministry said.

The ministry said that Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan remains committed to resolving issues through understanding and diplomatic dialogue, considering its economy-centric foreign policy, which is based on the facilitation of trade and transit in the region.

“It (the ministry) reminds the Pakistani side that such actions are detrimental to the trade of Afghanistan, region and national economy of Pakistan, which is heavily dependent on exports in the current situation,” read the statement.

The ministry further added that the two sides should seek solutions to these problems through understanding in a bid to improve trade, transit and economy of the region, and not to allow political and other issues to undermine the economy, trade and the free movement of people.

Nangarhar media meanwhile reported that the Torkham crossing remains closed Sunday.