Torkham border closed after Afghan forces firing


Ashrafuddin Pirzada

LANDIKOTAL: The Torkham border crossing remained closed for all kinds of movements. On the second day after Afghan border authorities first closed the border and escalated gunfire over the issue of an Afghan patient who was not allowed to enter Pakistan without valid travel documents via the Torkham border, border sources said on Monday.

Border officials said Afghan Emarat-e-Islami border police went out of control when Pakistani border authorities did not allow an Afghan national to come to Pakistan for treatment.

An official on the condition of anonymity told Fata Voice that they did not permit an Afghan to enter Pakistan without proper travel documents on Sunday night. He said Afghanistan border police closed the gate for all kinds of movement as a protest on Sunday night. He said that on Monday morning, all of a sudden, Afghan forces opened gunfire at the Pakistani border security posts located along the borderline in Torkham.

According to witnesses, the exchange of gunfire lasted several hours, escalating the situation in the Torkham neighborhood. A wave of fear spread among the citizens on both sides of that border.

Sources said as the firing started, people escaped from the scene to save lives. A Pakistani border security official was wounded in the incident, sources said. He was rushed to the Combined Military Hospital in Landikotal.

Meanwhile, on the Torkham border, local residents, the Torkham laborers’ union, and daily wagers held a peace march. They were holding white flags and chanting slogans for peace. Torkham laborers’ union president Farman Shinwari said Torkham was the place they earned for their families. He said the Pashtuns on both sides of the border were brothers and sisters. He stated that they are related by blood. He urged Afghanistan and Pakistan to peacefully resolve border issues.

The Torkham border remained closed till the filing of this report.  Thousands of legal passengers and trucks loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables suffered from the border closure.

According to border sources, large queues of loaded and empty trucks and passenger coaches were seen on both sides of the Torkham border waiting for the reopening of the border.

They said around 65 passengers have also been stuck in the pedestal tube in Pakistan and Afghanistan since Monday morning, but they were not allowed to cross the border. Sources confirmed that several children and women were also among those sucked into the peritoneal tube.