PESHAWAR: The Taliban government in Afghanistan has once again closed the Pak-Afghan border at Torkham for all kinds of movement.
Official sources said that after the border closure, the pedestrian movement and trade activities across the border have come to a halt. The sources said the Afghan Taliban are demanding permission for Afghan citizens to cross the border. They say the border will remain closed till the Afghan citizens are not allowed to enter Pakistan.
With the closure of the border, hundreds of vehicles have been stranded on both sides of the border. Under the June 16 decision of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the Afghan citizens are not allowed to enter Pakistan through Torkham border. However, concessions are granted in special cases, like patients, students etc.
The Afghan Taliban had also closed the Torkham border briefly few days ago, but later on they agreed to open it. Due to the closure, the Pakistani labourers working in Afghanistan were stranded there. Similarly, the Pakistani citizens in Afghanistan also faced a lot of difficulties due to that situation.
The point of view of Taliban was the same, as they said the Afghan citizens must also be allowed by the Pakistan government to enter the country through Torkham border.
On September 13, Torkham border was opened for pedestrians from both sides. People arriving to Pakistan from Torkham border had to undergo coronavirus test. Other standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding coronavirus were also observed at the border crossing.
Assistant Commissioner Landikotal Akbar Iftikhar said the Afghan citizens were not allowed to enter Pakistan via Torkham border from June 16 under the coronavirus SOPs. Thousands of Afghan citizens used to come to Pakistan via Torkham border for trade activities and medical treatment, but they were stopped due to which they faced a lot of difficulties.
Afghan citizens say the journey to Pakistan via Torkham border used to be an easier thing during the Ashraf Ghani era, but now restrictions have increased at Torkham border and people had to come to Pakistan through Chaman border with great trouble as it consumes a lot of time and causes huge travel expenditure.