April 2, 2023

The choice to reopen the Torkham border crossing got here a day after a high-level Pakistani delegation met Taliban officers in Kabul.

Islamabad, Pakistan – The Taliban authorities in Afghanistan has reopened a key border crossing with Pakistan after 4 days of closure that noticed hundreds of vans carrying meals and different objects stranded on the frontier.

Pakistani authorities on Thursday mentioned they may also open their facet of the Torkham crossing after finishing the “administrative necessities”.

“We’re simply finishing the required documentation and different administrative work earlier than reopening the gate, which is anticipated in one other few hours,” a Pakistani safety official posted on the crossing informed Al Jazeera, requesting anonymity.

The choice to reopen the border crossing got here a day after a high-level Pakistani delegationled by Protection Minister Khawaja Asif, visited Kabul on Wednesday to debate safety and different issues.

The Pakistani delegation, which additionally comprised spy company chief Lieutenant Normal Nadeem Anjum, met Afghanistan’s performing deputy prime minister for financial affairs, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and different Taliban officers.

Hours later, the Afghan embassy in Islamabad tweeted that the Torkham commerce route, closed since Sunday over a “breach of commitments” by Islamabad, could be reopened on Thursday morning.

Pakistan Afghanistan Torkham crossing
Stranded vans parked alongside a freeway close to Torkham border crossing level in Pakistan [Qazi Rauf/AP]

Qari Nazim Gul, dealer and chief of the All Pakistan Customs Brokers Affiliation, mentioned hundreds of vans had been stranded on the Pakistan facet since Sunday evening.

“The queue stretches again to greater than 30km [19 miles], The Afghan facet opened their gate this morning and we had been informed earlier in the present day that the gate will likely be opened by noon. However we’re nonetheless simply ready for it to reopen from our facet,” he informed Al Jazeera.

Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, director of Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Trade, mentioned he was hopeful the border crossing could be reopened on Thursday.

“We now have been knowledgeable that there are preparations occurring, and hopefully, the gates will likely be opened someday later within the day,” he informed Al Jazeera.

With hundreds of vans caught on the border, Sarhadi estimated the losses to merchants on each side may go into billions of rupees.

“As a rustic, we have to resume our exports. We’d like the borders reopened on the earliest. We now have already misplaced billions of rupees resulting from this shutdown,” he mentioned.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share a 2,600km-long (1,615 miles) border.

Taliban mentioned it shut the Torkham crossing over Islamabad allegedly denying Afghan migrants entry into Pakistan for medical care.

Pakistan in flip accuses the Taliban of sheltering armed attackers belonging to the outlawed Pakistan Taliban, additionally recognized by the acronym TTP. The Afghan Taliban rejects the declare.

In latest months, the TTP has been blamed for a spike in violent assaults throughout Pakistan, killing dozens of individuals.

Wednesday’s assembly in Kabul was held in opposition to the backdrop of the assaults by the TTP, which is ideologically aligned with the Afghan Taliban and has been waging a battle in opposition to the Pakistani state since 2007.

In a press release, Pakistan’s international workplace mentioned issues associated to the “rising risk of terrorism” within the area, “significantly by the TTP”, got here below dialogue. “The 2 sides agreed to collaborate to successfully deal with the specter of terrorism posed by numerous entities and organizations,” it mentioned.

Mehmood Jan Babar, an analyst on Pakistan-Afghan relations, mentioned the Afghans need touring to Pakistan made simpler.

“Pakistan says it’s going to present ease of entry solely to college students and people in want of medical help so as to management an inflow of Afghan residents into the nation,” he informed Al Jazeera.

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