Torkham border reopens to traffic after eight-day closure

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The Torkham border crossing, a vital conduit for trade and the movement of people between Pakistan and Afghanistan celebrated a much-anticipated reopening on Friday, finally ending an eight-day suspension. Both vehicular and pedestrian traffic swiftly resumed as tensions between the Pakistan Army and Afghan forces began to abate, primarily due to a dispute over what Pakistan considered an “illegal” checkpost constructed by the Afghan side.

Border authorities have officially confirmed that vehicles are now permitted to traverse between the neighboring countries following the necessary clearance processes. Similarly, individuals who had been stranded on either side of the border during the eight-day suspension were allowed to cross, albeit subject to thorough inspections as part of the stringent security measures enforced by border officials.

The significance of the Torkham border cannot be overstated, given Afghanistan’s landlocked status, which heavily relies on a transit trade agreement with Pakistan to conduct international business. The pivotal roles played by Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani and Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi were instrumental in facilitating the reopening of this critical border crossing between the two nations.

It is noteworthy that Islamabad had set a condition for the Torkham border’s reopening, which involved the withdrawal of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from Chitral, as confirmed by sources with knowledge of the situation.

On September 6, 2023, a fateful day marked by the border’s closure and a fierce gun battle between Pakistani and Afghan forces, Chitral bore witness to another tragic episode. During these clashes, a somber toll was exacted, with at least four valiant soldiers losing their lives in the line of duty. Simultaneously, the confrontation claimed the lives of 12 militants affiliated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a notorious terrorist organization.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan’s military’s official media outlet, furnished details about the tragic incident. According to the ISPR, a substantial contingent of “terrorists equipped with the latest weapons” initiated a brazen assault on two military checkpoints situated in the Chitral district, nestled within the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The ensuing confrontation escalated into an intense and protracted exchange of gunfire, further exacerbating the already precarious security situation in the area.

The ISPR also revealed that these attacks had been meticulously coordinated, originating from Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nuristan provinces, which share a border with Chitral. Responding to this alarming development, Pakistani security forces promptly launched a comprehensive combing operation to eradicate any remaining threats and secure the region.

Emphasizing the heightened state of alertness maintained by Pakistani military posts in anticipation of such threats, the ISPR underscored the critical responsibility borne by the Taliban administration in Afghanistan. They were expected to fulfill their obligations by preventing the exploitation of Afghan territory for terrorist activities aimed at destabilizing Pakistan.

Following the involvement of the Kabul regime, the TTP completed its withdrawal from the border areas. In the meantime, Islamabad sought firm assurances to ensure that such devastating attacks would not recur in the future, underscoring the urgency and gravity of the situation on both sides of the border.

Muhammad Awais Raza is a student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Sociology at the Government College University (GCU). Awais can be contacted via email at He is also available on Twitter under the handle @Awais_raza512


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