Pakistan’s Foreign Office has responded to remarks made by the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the temporary closure of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border at Torkham after a gun battle between border forces. Pakistan wants a peaceful and friendly border with Afghanistan, but unprovoked firing by Afghan border security forces strengthens terrorist elements. The Afghan Taliban administration had criticized the closure, calling it contrary to good neighbourliness. Pakistan said that Afghan forces were trying to establish a check post in an area where both sides had agreed not to, which violated Pakistan’s sovereignty. The firing on Pakistani border posts cannot be justified and emboldens terrorist elements operating from within Afghanistan. Temporary closures only occur in extreme cases or when Afghan soil is used for launching terror attacks into Pakistan. The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs made irrelevant comments and unsolicited advice about Pakistan’s economy and foreign trade. Pakistan has facilitated Afghan transit trade but cannot allow misuse of the transit trade agreement. It expects the Afghan interim authorities to respect Pakistan’s concerns, protect its territorial integrity, and prevent the use of Afghan territory for terrorist attacks against Pakistan. The closure has caused significant losses for businesses and impacted bilateral trade relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
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