Pakistan reaffirmed its commitment to facilitating Afghan transit trade, a relationship that has spanned several decades. However, it emphasized its inability to tolerate any misuse of this agreement. The Foreign Office spokesperson, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, responded to a statement from the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the temporary closure of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border at Torkham.
Baloch expressed surprise at the Afghan Ministry’s remarks, stating that the Interim Afghan authorities were well aware of the reasons for the border’s temporary closure. Pakistan could not accept the construction of structures by the Interim Afghan government within its territory, as it violated Pakistan’s sovereignty. Baloch noted that on September 6th, Afghan troops engaged in indiscriminate firing, targeting Pakistani military posts, damaging infrastructure at the Torkham Border Terminal, and endangering the lives of civilians on both sides. This occurred when they were prevented from erecting unlawful structures.
Baloch emphasized that such unprovoked and indiscriminate firing on Pakistani border posts could not be justified under any circumstances. She also pointed out that this firing emboldened terrorist elements that had sanctuaries inside Afghanistan, as confirmed by the UN Security Council’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.
Pakistan has consistently wished for the border with Afghanistan to be a symbol of peace and friendship between the two nations. It has shown restraint and prioritized dialogue despite unwarranted provocations by Afghan troops along the border. Temporary closures have only occurred in extreme cases, such as the incident on September 6, 2023, or when Afghan soil was used to launch terror attacks inside Pakistan.
Baloch noted that the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement contained irrelevant comments and unsolicited advice about Pakistan’s economy and foreign trade. Pakistan remains open to resolving bilateral issues and concerns through constructive dialogue to promote economic connectivity and prosperity for both countries. It expects the Afghan interim authorities to be mindful of Pakistan’s concerns, respect its territorial integrity, and prevent Afghan territory from being used as a base for terrorist attacks against Pakistan.