Afghan authorities close Torkham border crossing

Afghan authorities shut down Torkham border crossing.

Afghan authorities took a significant step on Wednesday by closing the Torkham border crossing with Pakistan in apparent protest against the installation of a ‘Welcome to Pakistan’ signboard at the crossing’s Zero Point.

Afghan authorities close Torkham border crossing
Afghan authorities close Torkham border crossing

This move halted all vehicular and pedestrian traffic at a critical trading juncture where Afghanistan exports coal and receives essential supplies from Pakistan.

The closure follows a recent shift in Pakistan’s policy towards the Afghan Taliban, adding to the already tense atmosphere. Islamabad declared that it would no longer grant “special privileges” to the interim Afghan Taliban government, a departure from its previous role as their spokesperson. This shift had drawn criticism, both domestically and internationally. Previously, Pakistan had actively sought to lift sanctions against the Taliban government, advocating for Kabul’s access to frozen funds since August 2021.

However, Pakistan’s goodwill gestures towards the Afghan Taliban government, which included trade incentives and other facilities, are no longer on the table. The sources indicate that Pakistan is reevaluating its approach due to concerns that the Taliban government is harboring entities considered as “our enemies.” This reevaluation coincides with heightened tensions over the presence of TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan) sanctuaries across the border.

Furthermore, Pakistan’s recent move to repatriate Afghans without refugee status or visas has strained bilateral relations, causing dissatisfaction within the Taliban government towards Islamabad and certain Pakistani leaders. Against this backdrop, the closure of the Torkham border crossing serves as a symbolic expression of discord between the two neighboring countries.

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