ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani authorities have shut down its Torkham border with Afghanistan after Taliban fighters took over control of the border posts inside Afghan territory.
Taliban fighters took positions on the posts after Afghan police and border forces laid down their arms before them.
According to sources, the capture of border posts by the Taliban alerted the Pakistani officials who rushed to seal the border by shutting down six gates.
The development came a day after Pakistan had reopened the Chaman-Spin Boldak border crossing with Afghanistan, following two rounds of successful negotiations with the Taliban on repatriating stranded individuals.
Reacting to the development, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said that the Torkham border has been closed long ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Chaman border is open,” he said and added “Afghan sides should know that talks are the only way forward.”
In a blitz assault in the last few days, the Taliban had gained control of Afghanistan’s main cities including Jalalabad, Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat and Kandahar, encircling Afghan capital Kabul. The Taliban fighters are believed to control two-thirds of the country’s territory and over half of the 34 provincial capitals.
The Taliban officials are now running affairs of the Afghan border district of Spin-Boldak, which the group captured last month. All taxes and toll fees in the province are being collected by the Taliban.
The Chaman-Spin Boldak crossing generates huge revenue for both sides. Nearly 1,000 trucks carrying commercial goods cross the border each day during times of peace.
The Chaman-Spin Boldak border was closed last week after the Taliban took control of Spin Boldak.
The Taliban then demanded the Pakistani authorities to allow Afghans stranded in Pakistan to cross the border. After the talks, it was decided that persons with Afghan Identity Cards or Refugee Registration Cards issued by Pakistan should be allowed to crossover.
Officials said the opening would be a relief to traders who had stocks of perishable goods to transport.
The latest Taliban assault comes in the backdrop of the US and NATO forces withdrawing from the war-torn country. All foreign troops will leave Afghanistan by August 31.