LANDI KOTAL: The Torkham border remained closed for some hours on Wednesday after an early morning mortar attack from the Afghan side.
Officials said a projectile fired from across the Afghan border landed and exploded at an open space near Iqbal checkpost on the Torkham border. However, the blast caused no damage.
Soon after the incident, the border authorities closed the border crossing which halted the movement of all types of vehicles and pedestrians on both sides of the border.
Border officials of Pakistan and Afghanistan later held a flag meeting during which the security situation on both sides of the border came under discussion.
The border crossing was reopened at around 2pm. No one claimed responsibility for the mortar attack.
Border crossing reopened following flag meeting
The Foreign Office spokesperson said that Pakistan side immediately contacted Afghan authorities and conveyed serious concerns over the incident, which could have caused casualties.
The FO in a press release issued in Islamabad said the routine border terminal operations were resumed in the afternoon.
In the incident, there were no casualties. However, minor damages were reported.
The overall situation at the Torkham border remained peaceful for the last several months as no incident of any hostility between the border guards of the two countries took place.
Officials at the Torkham border said the bilateral trade had considerably increased after Pakistan arranged for day-night (24/7) opening of the border in order to expedite the process of goods clearance and facilitate Pakistani exports to Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had inaugurated the new facility on Sept 18 last year during his visit to the Torkham border.
Customs authorities said the entire process of goods clearance had been computerised. They, however, regretted that the Afghan side had yet to reciprocate Pakistan’s initiative of keeping the border open for 24 hours as the Afghan customs staff closed their offices before evening.
Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2020