Islamabad, Sep 11 (EFE). Pakistan on Monday said it was ready to address all issues with Afghanistan through constructive dialogue, while urging Afghan authorities to consider its concerns.
The neighbors are battling a fresh bout of tension after an exchange of fire that led to the main border crossing point between the two countries, Torkham, closed last week.
The clash erupted when the Afghan side reportedly attempted to build a checkpoint on the disputed border. The closure resulted in long queues of stranded trucks and travelers.
“Pakistan stands ready to resolve all bilateral issues and concerns through constructive dialogue so that both countries can reap the dividends of economic connectivity and resultant prosperity,” foreign office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said in a press statement.
“We expect the Afghan interim authorities to be mindful of Pakistan’s concerns, respect the territorial integrity of Pakistan, and ensure that the Afghan territory is not used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against Pakistan.”
The spokesperson said Pakistan could not accept new structures that “violate its sovereignty.”
According to the Afghan foreign ministry, Pakistan closed the border after Pakistani security forces fired on Afghans who were allegedly repairing an old security post built several years ago.
The Pakistani ministry, however, claimed that Afghan troops engaged in indiscriminate firing and targeted Pakistani military posts when prevented from constructing new structures.
The Afghan firing caused damage to the infrastructure at the Torkham border terminal and posed risks to the lives of both Pakistani and Afghan civilians.
The statement said incidents provoked by Afghan border security forces emboldened “terrorist elements,” given a safe haven, as confirmed by the UN Security Council’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.
The ministry clarified that temporary border closures only occur in extreme cases, such as the recent incident or when Afghan territory is used to launch terrorist attacks within Pakistan.
The Afghan ministry pointed out that the Torkham closure had adversely affected bilateral trade, resulting in financial losses for businesses on both sides.
Pakistan stressed its decades-long facilitation of Afghan transit trade and its commitment to continue doing so. However, it made it clear that it cannot allow the misuse of the transit trade agreement.
Pakistan has experienced an increase in militant attacks since the Afghan Taliban seized power in August 2021.
The Pakistani government alleges that the Afghan soil is being exploited by the Pakistani Taliban or Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan to launch attacks on its security forces and civilians.
The Afghan Taliban government has denied these claims. EFE