The Torkham border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan was shut on Wednesday following a clash between the neighboring nations’ border guards, which officials of both countries blamed on each other.
According to local media, two people—including a Frontier Corps official—were injured in the clash that occurred around mid-day. Pakistani officials alleged Afghan authorities attempting to build a checkpoint in a prohibited area, close to the border, triggered the fight. They said attempts to halt them through dialogue had prompted firing from the Afghan side, which the Pakistani forces had retaliated against. Local officials claimed the clash, lasting nearly two hours, had seen the use of both light and heavy weaponry, including mortars.
An official in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, meanwhile, claimed Pakistani forces had targeted their Afghan counterparts while they were seeking to restore an old checkpost. He further alleged several casualties on the Afghan side, but did not provide any specifics. Speaking with The Khorasan Diary, the interim government’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said discussions were underway between authorities of both sides to prevent such incidents from recurring.
Eyewitnesses told journalists that while it was unclear who had started the fight, it had provoked panic, with travelers and local residents alike rushing to safety in the aftermath.
This isn’t the first time the Torkham border crossing has been shuttered after clashes between the neighboring nations. Most recently, it was closed in February with both sides accusing each other of attempting to build new posts along the border. That closure, which lasted four days, had left thousands of trucks laden with goods stranded on both sides and was reopened only after a visit to Kabul by then-defense minister Khawaja Asif.