The Torkham border crossing, one of the principle land connections between Afghanistan and Pakistan, has been shut down for all traffic. It comes after a reported rocket attack from the Afghan side.
The road passing by Torkham leads to the Afghan capital, Kabul through Jalalabad. On the Pakistani side, the crossing is connected to the capital, Islamabad through Peshawar. Torkham was temporarily shut down by the Pakistani authorities on Wednesday, with officials citing security concerns, according to media reports. The closure was said to be prompted by a rocket attack at the checkpoint, which left two Pakistani soldiers injured.
— Newsonepk (@newsonepk) January 29, 2020
Torkham border is of immense importance for both Pakistan and Afghanistan as the bulk of their bilateral trade passes through this crossing. It is also used by Afghanistan for transit trade. Pakistan provides a transit route to Afghan goods to be sent to India and other parts of the world. Through Torkham border Pakistan has also the opportunity to extend its trade and economic relations with the Central Asian Republics (CARs).
Back in September 2019, the Pak-Afghan authorities launched round the clock operation of Torkham border which provided greater relief to the people and traders alike. Previously the border used to remain open for 12 hours only. The initiative was taken by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in an attempt to warm up the strained relations with Afghanistan which had costed both these neighbouring states greatly in terms of trade and economy.
The recent rocket attack across the border from Afghanistan has once again resulted in the border closure. Such shutdowns of the border are not in any country’s interests. Both these states are required to have in place a strict and effective security infrastructure to avoid such incidents in the future.
Local Afghan officials cited by media say talks are underway to reopen the crossing.