Torkham Border Closure Continues into Second Day: Ongoing Developments and Implications Unveiled
Torkham Border Closure Persists: Visa Dispute Sparks Second-Day Standstill for Commercial Vehicles
In a continuing diplomatic standoff, the Torkham border closure enters its second day, causing a backlog of stranded commercial vehicles at the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier. The blame game intensifies as both sides exchange accusations regarding the abrupt shutdown, which commenced late Friday night.
On Friday, Afghan border official Abdul Jabbar Hekmat attributed the closure to Pakistan’s visa requirements for commercial truck drivers. However, Pakistani officials on Saturday refuted the visa imposition, asserting that the border closure resulted from Afghan counterparts being notified that valid passports are now mandatory for truck drivers.
“In accordance with our updated policy, Afghan officials were informed last night that cargo drivers must possess a passport to enter our side,” clarified a Pakistani customs official.
This regulation, agreed upon in previous meetings between Afghan and Pakistani authorities, has become a point of contention. The Afghan border officials’ decision to close the border instead of adhering to the agreed-upon regulations has led to the current trade impasse, leaving hundreds of trucks stranded while pedestrian traffic remains unaffected.
Ongoing tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan have resulted in sporadic closures of border crossings in recent months. Last year, Islamabad’s crackdown on undocumented Afghans led to heightened document requirements for entry into Pakistan.
The strained relations extend to accusations from Islamabad, alleging that the Taliban government in Afghanistan has failed to address militants launching attacks on Pakistan from Afghan soil—a claim disputed by Kabul.
Situated equidistant between Islamabad and Kabul, the Torkham crossing has experienced frequent closures, with occasional escalations to armed clashes between border guards. The current visa dispute adds to the challenges, further complicating the already delicate relationship between the two neighboring nations.