Traders troubled after Taliban shut Afghan-Pakistan crossing

Feb 20, 2023, 2:20 PM | Updated: Feb 21, 2023, 7:02 am
Stranded trucks loaded with supplies for Afghanistan, line up on a highway after Afghan Taliban rul...

Stranded trucks loaded with supplies for Afghanistan, line up on a highway after Afghan Taliban rulers closed a key border crossing point Torkham, in Landi Kotal, an area in Pakistan's district Khyber along Afghan border, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. The main crossing on the Afghan-Pakistan border remained shut Tuesday for the third straight day, officials said, after Afghanistan's Taliban rulers earlier this week closed the key trade route and exchanged fire with Pakistani border guards. (AP Photo/Qazi Rauf)

(AP Photo/Qazi Rauf)

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — The main crossing on the Afghan-Pakistan border remained shut Tuesday for the third straight day, officials said, after Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers earlier this week closed the key trade route and exchanged fire with Pakistani border guards.

The closure has added to increasing tensions between the two neighboring countries and concerns for traders, for whom the Torkham crossing is a key commercial artery. Trucks carrying various items also travel to Central Asian countries from Pakistan, through Torkham crossing point and Afghanistan.

On the Pakistani side of the border, in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, many merchants watched their trucks on Tuesday, loaded with fresh produce that could soon spoil, and waited for the crossing to reopen.

The Taliban closed Torkham on Sunday, angered by Pakistan’s alleged refusal to allow Afghan patients and their caretakers to enter Pakistan for medical care without travel documents. On Monday, Taliban fighters and Pakistani guards exchanged fire. There was no word on casualties on either side.

According to Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, a director at the Pakistan-Afghanistan joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, nearly 7,00 trucks carrying various goods — including perishable fruit and vegetables — were stuck and lined up, waiting at the Pakistani side.

Hundreds of Pakistanis with valid travel documents were also waiting near Torkham for the crossing to reopen, he added. “It is causing problems for traders on both sides.”

There were also vehicles waiting on the other side of the border, in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province, but the Taliban have not commented on the issue.

Siddiqullah Quraishi, the Taliban’s appointed official at the Nangahar’s information and culture department, said Pakistan has not been abiding by its “commitments, so the crossing point was shut down.” He did not elaborate but advised Afghans to avoid traveling to the crossing until further notice.

Closures, cross-border fire and shootouts are common along the Afghan-Pakistan border. Each side has in the past closed Torkham, and also the Chaman crossing in southwestern Pakistan, over various reasons.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO troops were withdrawing from the country after 20 years of war. Like the rest of the world, Pakistan has so far not recognized Afghanistan’s Taliban government. The international community has been wary of the Taliban’s harsh measures, imposed since their takeover, especially in restricting the rights of women and minorities.


Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez in Islamabad contributed to this story.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Much of drought-plagued West Coast faces salmon fishing ban

The surreal and desperate scramble boosted the survival rate of the hatchery-raised fish, but still it was not enough to reverse the declining stocks in the face of added challenges.
2 days ago
UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) shoots while defended by Gonzaga's Rasir Bolton (45) in the first half...
Associated Press

Gonzaga beats UCLA 79-76 in Sweet 16 on Strawther’s shot

Julian Strawther hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to answer a 3-pointer by UCLA's Amari Bailey, lifting Gonzaga to a wild 79-76 NCAA Tournament win over UCLA Thursday night in the Sweet 16.
2 days ago
Associated Press

Officials: Safety device, human error derailed Wash. train

A safety device failed, knocking a train off the tracks last week, spilling diesel after leaving an oil refinery in Anacortes.
2 days ago
File - Credit cards as seen July 1, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. A low credit score can hurt your ability...
Associated Press

What the Fed rate increase means for your credit card bill

The Federal Reserve raised its key rate by another quarter point Wednesday, bringing it to the highest level in 15 years as part of an ongoing effort to ease inflation by making borrowing more expensive.
3 days ago
police lights distracted drivers shooting...
Associated Press

Authorities: Missing mom, daughter in Washington found dead

A missing Washington state woman and her daughter were found dead Wednesday, according to police.
3 days ago
Associated Press

Google’s artificially intelligent ‘Bard’ set for next stage

Google announced Tuesday it's allowing more people to interact with “ Bard,” the artificially intelligent chatbot the company is building to counter Microsoft's early lead in a pivotal battleground of technology.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Traders troubled after Taliban shut Afghan-Pakistan crossing