Afghan, Pakistani traders demand reopening of border

March 14, 2017

KABUL/PESHAWAR: Business representatives from Afghanistan and Pakistan have called on Islamabad to immediately reopen the border between the two countries, saying the closure is hurting economic and social ties and resulting in massive monetary losses and mutual trust deficit.

Pakistani closed the two main border crossings of Torkham and Chaman nearly a month ago, after a wave of suicide bombings across the country which were plotted from Afghan territory.

Around 3,000 packed containers that were due to cross Torkham have been stranded in Peshawar, while 2,000 containers have been stuck near the Chaman border crossing, according to business sources.

A six-member delegation of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (ACCI) visiting Islamabad, met with Pakistani counterparts to discuss problems and damages the border closure has caused.

“On behalf of the Afghan business community, let me affirm that we are entirely in favor of doing business with Pakistan since we share the same religion, language and culture,” Ahmad Shah Yarzada, a member of ACCI, told participants of a meeting of business leaders from the two countries in Islamabad.

Yarzada said the “abrupt” border closing is forcing his landlocked country “to look towards other countries, which are equally willing to engage in trade with Afghanistan.”

Pakistani interlocutors said they shared Afghan concerns and called on their government to reopen the border without further delay.