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Khwaja Asif Threatens Afghanistan with Closing Trade Routes As Tensions Escalate      

VANCOUVER, CANADA– Amid escalating tensions with Afghanistan, Pakistan warns that it would block the crucial trade corridor it provides to Afghanistan for trade with India.

In an interview with Voice of America (VoA), Pakistan Defense Minister, Khwja Asif said that although his country does not want an armed conflict, it would have to treat Kabul as an enemy if it acts as one.       

“If Afghanistan treats us like an enemy, why should we give them a trade corridor?” Asif rhetorically asked in his interview.

He asked the Taliban to take decisive action against militant groups, particularly Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which continue to pose a significant threat to Pakistan’s stability and security.

Tensions were already high before a Pakistani airstrike killed several civilians in Eastern Afghanistan. While Islamabad said the strike was to kill a TTP-affiliated terror leader, Taliban says the man in question lives on the Pakistani side of the porous border.

The strike came after militants killed several people, including two military officers, in an attack on a security post in North Waziristan on Saturday.

Pakistan Defence Minister emphasized that while Pakistan remains vigilant against threats posed by militants operating from Afghanistan soil, it seeks to resolve tensions through diplomatic channels rather than resorting to military confrontation.

“Force is the last resort. We do not want to have an armed conflict with Afghanistan,”

Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, also reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to dialogue and cooperation with Afghanistan in countering terrorism.

However, events of recent days and the two sides’ responses underscore Pakistan’s growing impatience with the Taliban’s inaction in addressing its key strategic patron’s security concerns.

The prospect of disrupting the trade corridor poses significant economic implications for Afghanistan, which heavily relies on trade with India through this route. Any disruption in trade could further exacerbate Afghanistan’s economic woes, already compounded by years of conflict and instability.