Pakistan-Afghanistan border at Torkham to reopen today, document requirements to be relaxed

The Torkham border, a crucial crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, is set to reopen with a relaxed travel document requirements starting from Tuesday until March 31, 2024, as reported by The Express Tribune.

Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed on the deal after a delegation of Afghan transporters and Chamber of Commerce representatives held a meeting with Pakistan trade officials at the embassy in Kabul and requested the reopening of the border for the second time in as many days, The Express Tribune reported.

Earlier, Pakistan had introduced new visa and passport requirements for drivers and their assistants, which Afghanistan rejected, leading to a disagreement between the two sides and the subsequent closure of trade.

As per The Express Tribune, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and chamber of commerce delegation engaged in discussions with Pakistan embassy staff to seek relaxation in visa requirements, citing the impact on trade.

Pakistan has now accepted the request from Afghanistan and granted a relaxation until the end of March for drivers.

The closure of trade routes had resulted in thousands of vehicles being stranded, carrying items such as vegetables, onions, fruits from Iran and Central Asia, as well as coals. During the closure, Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan remained at zero, a customs official told The Express Tribune.Afghanistan government spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid has indicated that an agreement is near, and the public can expect positive news soon. Officials stated that currently, various border crossings, including Chaman, Torkham, Ghulam Khan, Angur Ada, and Kharlachi, are closed, causing a significant daily loss estimated at Rs680 million for both sides, The Express Tribune reported.

The closure has persisted for ten days, impacting trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Earlier in November, the Pakistan caretaker government initiated a nationwide campaign to deport illegal foreign nationals, the majority of whom are Afghans.

Pakistan’s decision prompted criticism from Afghanistan and several other nations, the Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported.

Of the more than four million Afghans living in Pakistan, the Pakistani government estimates that 1.7 million Afghans do not have documents. So far, thousands of Afghans have headed back to Afghanistan through the Torkham and Chaman border crossings.

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