Taliban Confirms Conditional Reopening of Pakistan-Afghan Key Trade Route

    Taliban Confirms Conditional Reopening of Pakistan-Afghan Key Trade Route
    Last updated Feb 24, 2023
    Image credit: Samaa


    • A Taliban official announced on Friday that the Torkham crossing, a key Afghanistan-Pakistan trade route closed over the last five days, has been conditionally reopened after Kabul and Islamabad agreed that they will only allow their citizens to cross the border.[1]
    • This latest development came a day after the border was thrown into confusion following the circulation of incomplete reports on its reopening on social media. While Afghan officials indeed reopened their side of the border, Pakistani authorities insisted they would follow suit after a formal meeting to remove the misunderstandings.[2]
    • The border was first closed on Sunday by the Taliban on claims that Pakistan was preventing sick Afghans from crossing the border. In turn, Pakistan has recently accused Kabul of tacitly supporting the Tahreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an armed Islamist group waging an insurgency against the Pakistani military.[3]
    • Since the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US troops in 2021, the TTP has stepped up attacks in Pakistan, especially in recent months.[4]
    • A day after the closing, Taliban and Pakistani troops exchanged fire, with one Pakistani soldier being reported injured in the clash. Pakistani media reported that the Taliban opened fire after Pakistan deported an Afghan who had crossed the border without the required documents.[5]
    • The Torkham border crossing is an essential trade route between Pakistan and Central Asia. Though tensions were rather high earlier in the week, the situation has reportedly calmed since Thursday.[6]


    Narrative A

    The worsening of the TTP insurgency in Pakistan is a direct result of the Taliban's takeover of neighboring Afghanistan. Though the Taliban may claim that it can be trusted to secure the border and strengthen the security situation in Afghanistan, it's a direct ally of the TTP and is likely supporting its attacks in Pakistan. The TTP, which has long taken refuge in Afghanistan, has benefited from the Taliban's return to Kabul, as it can now freely launch terror attacks into Pakistan.

    Narrative B

    Restraint is necessary on both sides of the border for an effective and just solution to this dispute. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan benefit from cross-border trade, and closing the border helps no one. The Taliban should take a stronger stand against the TTP, but Pakistan must also allow sick Afghans to cross the border. Neighbors should work together toward mutual benefits.

    Nerd narrative

    There's an 86% chance that Pakistan will recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan before 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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