Torkham Tensions: Afghan Delegation To Visit Islamabad Monday

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Following border tensions over the all-important Torkham gate between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a senior Afghan delegation is set to travel to Islamabad tomorrow (Monday) in order to overcome their bi-lateral dispute.

Members of the Afghan delegation, led by the deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, include representatives from the Defense and Interior ministries as well as the National Security Council (NSC).
“The delegation will travel to Islamabad on Monday to discuss the rift recently created at the Torkham Gate,” confirmed spokesman for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shekib Mustaghni.

The trade route though the Torkham Gate is one of the most important for Afghan and Pakistani.

Officials from Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) have urged the two governments not to sacrifice Af-Pak trade ties because of political turmoil.

“The economy of the two countries [Afghanistan and Pakistan] was being damaged due to the closure of the Torkham Gate. We expect the two governments to overcome all political challenges through talks. They should not sacrifice the economies of the countries for political issues,” said Hashem Rasouli, international relations director at ACCI.

“Afghanistan and Pakistan have to date used weapons to overcome the issue. This did not work. Now it is clear that talks are the only option to overcome tensions between Kabul and Islamabad,” said international relations analyst Nasir Ahmad Taraki.

This comes after Pakistani prime minister’s national security advisor Sartaj Aziz recently said his country did not need any permission to build a gate near the zero point (no man’s land) of the Durand Line. He said they will continue building the installation near the Torkham Gate.

Torkham Gate was closed last week after Pakistani border forces started constructing an installation near the gate. However, the crossing was opened to traffic on Saturday after intense discussions between officials from the two neighboring countries.

 

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