Thu, 05 Oct 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 14 (ANI): The Pakistan government accused the Taliban-led Afghanistan government of misusing the Pakistan-Afghanistan transit trade agreement, The Express Tribune reported on Thursday.

The Pakistan news daily reported quoting the statement of the Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch that Pakistan had concerns that the transit trade facility was being misused.

"We are concerned that the transit trade agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan is being misused," the spokesperson said.

"It is important for our customs authorities to ensure that any border trade that takes place complies with the understandings and agreements that exist between Pakistan and Afghanistan and that such commercial activities do not contravene Pakistani laws," she added.

The Foreign Office spokesperson also alleged that the customs duties and taxes are not being paid by the Afghanistan side.

"Our major concern is that sometimes the imports that are meant for Afghanistan are diverted back to Pakistan and the customs duties and taxes are not paid as they should be. So, there are certain concerns of our customs authorities that people are misusing the bilateral provisions that allow fortrade with Afghanistan," she explained.

Torkham border, a crucial border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, remained blocked for the eighth day on Thursday, as discussions between the two parties remained stalled, stranding commercial convoys and travellers, according to ARY News.

Hundreds of vehicles carrying crucial products have been trapped on both sides since the Torkham border crossing - one of the two main crossings between the neighbouring nations- was closed down following a dispute.

Traders said that the fruits and vegetables in the trucks were getting spoiled.

Citing sources, ARY News reported that a discussion was held between Pakistani and Afghan authorities regarding the closing of the Torkham border.

However, sources said that talks between the two parties remained stalled.

The latest stalemate arose as Taliban soldiers began erecting a new security station near the Torkham border, which Pakistan regards as a breach of mutual accords, according to ARY News.

On Monday, Pakistan expressed surprise at the Afghan foreign ministry's statement over the Torkham border shutdown, stating that "interim Afghan authorities are fully aware of the reasons for the temporary closure.

"The Torkham crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan remained closed to traffic for the seventh consecutive day.

The Afghanistan-Pakistan border was closed after clashes were triggered by the construction of a new post along the border. The busy Torkham border crossing was closed on Wednesday after Pakistani and Afghan Taliban forces started firing at each other, according to local officials.

On September 11, people in Afghanistan's Nangarhar held protests over the closure of the Torkham crossing. According to the protesters, Pakistan has regularly closed the Torkham border under various pretexts during the fruit and vegetable season.

Protesters urged Afghan and Pakistani officials to resolve their political differences through diplomatic channels. (ANI)

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