Afghan, Pakistani Traders Face Millions in Losses As Torkham Border Remains Closed

Thursday, 09/14/2023

Following last week's border skirmish between Pakistani and Taliban forces at the Torkham border, the border crossing has remained closed for the ninth day.

Pakistani media quoted the head of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and reported that businesses on both sides are incurring daily losses totalling approximately USD 5 million.

The Torkham border crossing was closed on September 6, following a skirmish between Taliban and Pakistani border guards.

In a statement explaining the cause of the skirmish, the Taliban's Foreign Ministry on September 9 wrote, "Pakistani forces opened fired on the Afghan border forces when they were busy repairing a security outpost that had been built years ago."

Abdulsalam Jawad, Taliban’s spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, told the Taliban-controlled Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) on September 14, that the group is negotiating with the Pakistani authorities to reopen the Torkham border.

Local sources told Afghanistan International that clash began when the Taliban started construction of a checkpoint near the Torkham Gate and Pakistani forces tried to stop it.

On the other hand, Pakistani officials have accused Taliban of "illegal" constructions and resorting to "unwarranted and indiscriminate firing" towards Pakistani border guards.

In the past few days, Taliban officials have demanded the reopening of the Torkham crossing and said that the closure of this border is detrimental to the merchants on both the sides.

The closure of this crossing caused hundreds of trucks full of fruits, vegetables and other commercial items to get stuck on both sides of the border.

Zahid Ullah, Director of Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce told a Pakistani media outlet that the total value of exports and imports between Afghanistan and Pakistan in the last fiscal year was USD 1.8 billion.

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