Pakistan recently condemned the decision of Afghanistan to erect a structure on its territory, denouncing it as a breach of its sovereignty and resulting in the temporary closure of the Torkham border. This border is a critical junction for transporting goods and travellers between the two nations. On Monday, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the Foreign Office Spokesperson, remarked that the statements from the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which contained “irrelevant comments” about Pakistan’s economy and foreign trade, were surprising. The spokesperson stressed that the interim Afghan government was fully aware of the reasons behind the border closure.
Pakistan firmly stated it could not permit the interim Afghan government to construct any facilities within its territory, as it infringes upon its sovereignty. On the 6th of September, instead of seeking a peaceful solution, Afghan forces initiated unrestrained firing, targeting Pakistani military stations and jeopardizing the safety of civilians on both sides. This aggressive act also damaged the infrastructure at the Torkham Border Terminal. Baloch emphasized that such hostile and unprovoked actions cannot be justified under any circumstance and tend to strengthen the position of terrorist groups that find sanctuary within Afghanistan.
Fostering Peaceful Relations Amidst Provocations
Discussing the dynamics of the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Baloch highlighted that Pakistan has always advocated for a peaceful and friendly border with Afghanistan, welcoming Afghan nationals warmly for several decades. Pakistan has maintained restraint and favoured dialogue despite continuous and unwarranted provocations by the Afghan forces along the border.
The Foreign Office clarified that such border closures only occur in extreme situations, such as the incident on September 6th, which resulted in injuries to a Frontier Corps soldier. It was also noted that the Afghan Ministry’s statement contained unsolicited remarks about Pakistan’s economic and foreign trade sectors. Pakistan has historically facilitated Afghan transit trade and intends to continue, albeit with the expectation that the agreement will not be misused. Baloch stressed that Pakistan is ready to address all bilateral issues through constructive dialogue, fostering economic connectivity and mutual prosperity, hoping that Afghan authorities will respect Pakistan’s territorial integrity and prevent using their land for terrorist activities targeting Pakistan.