U.S Closely Watching Torkham Tension


The United States on Tuesday said it was closely watching the ongoing tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan in the aftermath of the recent skirmishes at Torkham border gate which has resulted in casualties on both sides.

“I could tell you we are all watching the tensions very closely, that we are in touch with officials on both sides,” the State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference.

He was responding to questions on tensions between the two South Asian neighbors in the aftermath of the cross firing across the Durand Line.

The U.S continued to urge a calm resolution to the tension. “We obviously don’t want to see clashes; we don’t want to see violence; we don’t want to see it get worse,” he said.

The Special U.S Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Olson, has been in the two countries over the weekend.

In Islamabad, Olson met with government officials, including Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif, to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues recently.

In Kabul, he met with Afghan government officials including President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, and National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar.

He also met with Resolute Support Commander, General John Nicholson, Kirby said.

This comes after a skirmish broke out on Saturday over the reported attempt by Pakistan to erect a new installation at the gate.

Sporadic clashes have ensued in the past four days, with the latest one, on Tuesday night, lasting two hours.

Three Afghan border police and two civilians have been killed in the clashes. The Pakistani troops have also suffered casualties but details have not been released.

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