Torkham border reopened on Saturday after five days of closure following clashes between Afghan and Pakistan security forces
Afghan border guards started ‘unprovoked firing’ at roughly 9:00pm on Sunday to disrupt the construction of a gate on the Pakistani side of the border. Cross fire along the border caused casualties on both sides.
According to reports, the curfew was lifted after leaders of the two neighbouring countries met earlier to discuss possible solutions for the issue. Both sides opened their gates at the border to resume trade activities.
“To reopen the pass there were central and regional level
negotiations,” Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesperson for Afghanistan’s
Nangarhar provincial governor, said on Saturday.
The flow of traffic resumed to normal soon after the border reopened, following which officials on both sides checked necessary documents of people travelling across the border and also gave immigration visas to them.
Earlier, Kabul had apparently refused to send to Islamabad its national security adviser and foreign minister, invited for discussion in the wake of the recent clashes between the security forces of the two neighbouring countries after Pakistan started building a gate at Torkham border as part of its new border controls.
Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Thursday spoke to Afghan National Security Adviser (NSA) Hanif Atmar over phone and invited him and Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani for talks on the current situation at Torkham border amid the ongoing tension.
Afghan National Security Council spokesperson Tawab Ghorzang also confirmed the Pakistani invitation but said Afghan government has decided to send instead a delegation under Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai.
Kabul’s move appeared to suggest that the Afghan government is not keen to have meaningful engagement with Pakistan, commented a senior government official while requesting anonymity.
The official, however, made it clear that Pakistan would welcome any Afghan delegation as it had no intention of prolonging the tensions along the Torkham border. “The Afghan government has not yet officially responded to the invitation extended by the PM’s adviser,” he added.
No date has been announced for the visit and both sides are coordinating to decide the date.