KURRAM: A large number of loaded trucks have been stranded in Kharlachi town of Kurram tribal district due to closure of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing here.

The border point has been closed since Sunday last after clashes between Pakistani security forces and Afghan Taliban erupted over construction of a road by the latter on Pakistan’s soil. One soldier was martyred and seven personnel and four civilians were wounded in the clashes.

Local traders said that dozens of trucks and other vehicles, some of them loaded with perishable items, had been stranded on both sides of the border despite ceasefire.

A stranded truck driver, Akbar Khan, who belongs to Kohat district, told the media that he was waiting for the reopening of the border. He said that he was about to cross the border to transport goods to Afghanistan on Sunday when clashes broke out. “The closure of the border has made the drivers suffer a lot,” he said, adding that some drivers had fallen sick because of harsh weather.

The suspension of the bilateral trade and commercial activities has also affected daily wagers in Kharlachi town, the third busiest border crossing with Afghanistan after Torkham and Chaman in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, respectively.

Masiab Hussain, general secretary of trade union and import-export association, said that hundreds of vehicles loaded with coal and fresh fruit crossed into Pakistan via Kharlachi daily, generating employment and other commercial activities for the locals.

Hundreds of daily wagers have become jobless owing to suspension of trade between the two countries, he said, and urged both the governments to reopen the border crossing as soon as possible.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2022

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