Taliban denounces closure of Torkham border with Pakistan

Taliban’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized the closure of the key Torkham border crossing with Pakistan, saying it negatively impacts trade and connectivity.

“The closure of Torkham gate can adversely affect bilateral and regional trade and cause economic losses to traders on both sides,” the Ministry said in a statement Saturday, considering it against “good neighborliness.”

The Torkham border, which is the main point of transit for travelers and goods between the two neighbors, was closed by Pakistan on Wednesday morning after Taliban and Pakistani border guards exchanged heavy gunfire, killing at least eight people and wounding 20 others.

The Taliban blamed the Pakistani side for starting the skirmish, saying Pakistan border guards opened fire on Taliban forces while they were repairing an old security post close to the border.

Earlier reports suggested that the Taliban were trying to set up a security checkpost close to the Torkham crossing gate.

As the crossing remains closed for a fifth day, the Taliban says traders are suffering economic losses.

Hundreds of vehicles loaded with supplies, including perishable goods, have been stopped by the Pakistani authorities at Karachi port, the Taliban statement indicated.

The Taliban criticized Pakistan’s “hindrance” at Karachi port against international trading principles, saying that it will not only harm bilateral trade but also result in “mistrust” and “distance” between the two neighbors.

The statement also underlined that a large number of civilians, including children and elderly people, and bereaved families with funerals, remain stranded on both sides, which it said “cannot be justified under any circumstances.”

The Taliban authorities called on Pakistan to broker a solution to reopen the crossing.

“It is necessary that both sides seek solutions through understanding in a bid to promote regional trade, transit, and economic growth.” Taliban authorities urged.