Shots fired at an Afghan Pakistani border post closed by the

Shots fired at an Afghan-Pakistani border post closed by the Taliban

A firefight broke out between Afghan and Pakistani forces on Monday after Taliban authorities closed the busiest border crossing between the two countries, local officials said.

Relations with Islamabad have been strained since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021, and Pakistan has accused its neighbor of harboring armed groups preparing attacks on its soil.

Clashes are frequent along the border separating the two countries, which no Afghan government has ever recognized.

At the end of the day on Sunday, the Torkham border post, 170 km from either capital, was closed after a traveler accompanying a patient on the transfer was turned away, a Pakistani official said on condition of anonymity.

A Pakistan Border Patrol source told AFP that this has been pushed back due to a new rule requiring patient attendants to present a set of documents.

At 7:30 a.m. (3 a.m. GMT) Monday, “clashes erupted as Pakistani forces fired on Afghan forces,” Afghan border post spokesman Harfat Muhajir told AFP.

“Afghan forces also fired shots in response, but no one was injured,” he added.

Torkham Afghan Envoy Mohammad Sediq Khalid said: “The border crossing was closed by order of Kabul officials following complaints that Pakistan was not delivering on its promises.”

Since the Taliban returned to power, Pakistan has seen a dramatic increase in violence, particularly in the border regions of Afghanistan.

On Sunday, Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi condemned statements made by Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in Germany the previous day. “His comments about terrorist groups operating out of Afghanistan are false,” Balkhi said.

“We advise Pakistan to discuss bilateral issues one-on-one with the Afghan government instead of complaining at international conferences,” he said in a statement.

“The Afghan state must keep its promises on terrorism,” Bhutto said, regretting that “terrorist organizations” are based in Afghanistan.

In late January, a suicide bomber killed more than 80 police officers at a mosque in Peshawar police headquarters in north-west Pakistan.

On Friday, a commando also stormed a police compound in Karachi (south), killing a total of five people.

Both attacks were linked to the Pakistani Taliban, which has close ties to the Afghan Taliban.