Protest Held in Nangarhar Over Closing of Torkham Crossing

Dozens of people held a demonstration around Torkham area in Nangarhar province to protest the closing of the crossing by Pakistan.

The protestors said that Pakistan has been repeatedly closing the Torkham crossing under various pretexts during fruits and vegetable season.

They called on the officials of Afghanistan and Pakistan to resolve their political issues through diplomatic paths.

“When the season of fruits and vegetables arrives, you (Pakistan) close the path, make problems. You attack our checkpoints. Why?” said Wahidullah, a trader.

“The problems which are among the governments, you should solve it by any means, we don’t have any problems with it. But please don’t make obstacles for the transports,” said Farman Gul Shinwari, head of the free transport union in Nangarhar.

“Our call and proposal to Pakistan is to reopen the path so the problems of the people on both sides are solved,” said Faridon Khan Momand, a former member of the parliament.

Meanwhile, Mumtaz Zahra Baluch, spokesperson of Pakistan’s foreign ministry, reacted to the statement of the Afghanistan Foreign Ministry regarding the closure of Torkham crossing, saying that the statement comes as a “surprise as the Interim Afghan authorities know fully well the reasons for the temporary closure of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border at Torkham.”

Baluch said in a statement that Pakistan cannot accept the construction of any structures by “Interim Afghan Government inside its territory since these violate its sovereignty.”

“On the 6th of September, instead of a peaceful resolution, Afghan troops resorted to indiscriminate firing, targeting Pakistan military posts, damaging the infrastructure at the Torkham Border Terminal, and putting the lives of both Pakistani and Afghan civilians at risk, when they were stopped from erecting such unlawful structures,” the statement claimed.

This comes as the Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Chamber of Commerce said that due to the closure of Torkham, the traders on both sides of the crossing have suffered around $1 million.

“Right now, it is estimated that both Pakistan and Afghanistan suffered more than $1 million,” said Khanjan Alokozai, head of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Chamber of Commerce.

This comes as the meeting which was held between the officials of Afghanistan and Pakistan about the reopening of Torkham crossing ended with no result.

Protest Held in Nangarhar Over Closing of Torkham Crossing