Pakistan: Offices, residential quarters vacated as Torkham crossing stays shut

World Saturday 09/September/2023 08:50 AM
Pakistan: Offices, residential quarters vacated as Torkham crossing stays shut

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Amid ongoing clashes between the Pakistan and Afghanistan border forces, the Torkham border remained shut on Thursday and the offices and residential quarters adjacent to it were vacated, according to Dawn.

The key crossing between Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan had been closed on Wednesday after a gun battle broke out between border forces, with each side blaming the other for instigating the firefight.

According to sources in the border region, security officials are not allowing anyone to cross past the Michni checkpoint, which is located close to the Landi Kotal bazaar and has a commanding view of the border crossing, Dawn reported.

They claimed that as of late on Wednesday night, border forces had vacated all businesses and residences close to the border crossing. Additionally, transporters were instructed to halt their approach to the border until additional instructions.

Both sides blamed each other for initiating the clash. Till now no casualty has been reported. Disputes linked to the 2,600 km (1,615 miles) border have been a bone of contention between the neighbours for decades, reported Dawn.

The crossing has been closed several times in recent years, including a closure in February that saw thousands of trucks laden with goods stranded on each side of the border for days.

The dispute over the acquisition of land on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Torkham continues as construction work took up the speed to complete the project by the end of this year, reported Dawn.

In April, Dawn reported that the Khuga Khel tribe alleged that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), with whom they had originally signed an agreement on the provision of over 300 kanals of their collective land near the Torkham border for the construction of the terminal, had changed the designs and moreover had taken their 400 kanals of land without their consent.

With the FBR opting to stay in the background, the tribal elders 'pointed their guns' at the National Logistic Cell (NLC) as it was awarded the contract and present on the ground to execute the construction plan.