Torkham Border Crossing Closed Amid Reports of Gunfire

Officials from both Afghanistan and Pakistan have confirmed that the main border crossing between the two countries was closed on Monday, and residents in the area reported hearing gunfire near the usually busy border transit point.

The reason for the closure of the Torkham border crossing near the Khyber Pass was not immediately clear, but it comes amid sharply deteriorating relations between the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. While media reports indicated that the border was closed on Sunday evening, no reason was given.

Although Pakistani military, police, and government spokespersons were unavailable for comment, two Pakistani security officials in the region have confirmed that the border has been closed, and there has been some exchange of gunfire.

Disputes related to the 2,600 km-long border have been a bone of contention between the two neighboring countries for decades.

The Torkham border point is the primary transit point for travelers and goods between landlocked Afghanistan and Pakistan. A resident of Landi Kotal on the Pakistani side, Mohammad Ali Shinwari, stated that the border was closed late on Sunday, and gunfire erupted early on Monday, causing concern that troops from both countries may have started fighting.

Clashes on the border have occurred over the years, both during Afghanistan’s two-decade rule under a US-backed government and since the Taliban took over in 2021.

Clashes between Afghan and Pakistani security forces have also closed the second most important crossing between the two countries, at Chaman to the south, at times.

On Sunday, Pakistan’s foreign minister warned at a security conference in Germany that the risks of militancy from Afghan soil could impact the world.

A Taliban foreign ministry spokesperson subsequently stated that Pakistan should raise issues in private, rather than in public forums. The foreign ministry has also emphasized that the Taliban administration will not permit its territory to be used against other countries, especially its neighbors.

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