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Afghan Govt Refuses to Keep Torkham Border Open 24/7

Afghan Govt Refuses to Keep Torkham Border Open 24/7

KABUL – In a setback, the Afghan government has refused to work round the clock on the Pak-Afghan border in Torkham, citing shortage of staff and other problems, officials said on Wednesday.
According to the fresh schedule, Afghan border security officials permit the trailers to cross only between 9 am and 7 pm.
Sources said Pakistan has expressed reservations over this step by the Afghan government saying that it will delay the clearance process of vehicles on the border due to which the transporters and traders will face difficulties.
Border officials from both the countries held a meeting on Tuesday evening wherein Pakistani authorities apprised their Afghan counterparts of slow pace of clearing process at the crossing point.
The Afghan officials informed them that due to lack of staff, clearing procedure was slow, they further added that as counting process of votes was in progress after presidential election in Afghanistan, therefore, they had been directed by the high-up not to clear trucks, carrying retails commodities.
The Afghan officials have conveyed to Pakistan that counting process of votes is underway in Afghanistan after the October 17 presidential elections due to which the clearance process at the border is treated very carefully due to security concerns.
Afghan police at the border said they have been directed by the authorities to keep the border gates open from 9:00am to 7:00pm. A large number of goods vehicles are now again stranded at the border after this decision by the Afghan government.
After announcement of keeping the border open round the clock by the Pakistan government, the Pakistani officials are clearing 300 more vehicles then the previous routine on daily basis. Pakistani officials said over a thousand trucks are now stranded at the border due to non-clearance by the Afghan authorities.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan formally inaugurated the 24/7 service at Torkham border last month. This step of the Pakistani prime minister was greatly appreciated by the traders and people on both sides of the border. Traders and other people hoped that this step would boost bilateral trade and people-to-people contacts. However, the latest step by the Afghan government has apparently spoiled all the hard work by Pakistan.
(Sahar News)

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