The Torkham crossing, which connects Afghanistan and Pakistan in the eastern province of Nangarhar, has been reopened for trade and traffic after two days of closures due to the Afghan Presidential elections, Pakistani media reported on Monday.
Pakistan’s government announced on Thursday, September 26, that the closure of the crossing for the next two days was to aid security for the election , held on Saturday, September 28.
According to Pakistani media, the restriction was applied to everyone except in the case of patients who needed emergency care; even NATO supply vehicles were prevented from crossing.
Earlier in the year, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan directed relevant authorities to make arrangements for keeping Torkham crossing open 24/7, and the opening ceremony of the 24-hour crossing at Torkham was held in mid-September. Prime Minister Imran Khan was in attendance along with a number of Afghan government officials, including Nangarhar governor Shah Mahmoud Miakhail and acting Minister of Public Works Yama Yari.
The presence of Afghan officials at the 24-hour Torkham Crossing ceremony caused controversy as it is on the Durand Line, which Pakistan claims as its border and Afghanistan does not. For some critics, including former Afghan president Hamed Karzai, the attendance of Afghan officials tacitly legitimated Pakistan’s claim to the Durand Line as a border.
The border issued has provided ammunition for campaign skirmishes, as former national security chief and presidential candidate Rahmatullah Nabil alleged that President Ghani has chosen to recognize the Durand Line as a border between Afghanistan and Pakistan for his own personal interests.
Nabil claimed that based on his information, Pakistan has been pulling the fence inside Afghanistan up to 20 km and has distributed Pakistani ID cards in those areas.
The Afghan government, however, says that only the Afghan people can decide on the Durand Line.