Afghanistan has officially closed the Torkham border crossing with Pakistan in response to Pakistan’s imposition of visa requirements for Afghan drivers.
This move has resulted in a suspension of trade activities between the two nations.
Pakistan’s announcement regarding the necessity of visas for Afghan drivers has led to the blockage of truck entry at the border, though ordinary citizens can still cross with a valid visa.
Reports indicate that despite applying for visas, many Afghan drivers have not received them, significantly impacting their businesses and livelihoods.
Rahatullah, an Afghan driver, shared his experience, stating, “When Pakistan asked for a visa, I applied for it but it was rejected.
” Another driver, Rehmanullah Atmanzai, mentioned paying a fee for the visa but not receiving it.
Faced with visa-related challenges, Afghan drivers are compelled to travel secretly within Pakistan, conducting basic activities like praying, eating, and ordering food discreetly.
This clandestine existence also requires them to pay extra money to obtain food from Pakistani citizens. Atmanzai expressed the hope that obtaining a visa would alleviate the need for secrecy and fear in Pakistan.
In response to these difficulties, Atmanzai suggested a practical solution, proposing that visas be issued at the border instead of requiring drivers to obtain them from the embassy.
Notably, this closure of the Torkham border crossing is not the first of its kind.
In September, the crossing was shut down for over a week following a clash between the border forces of Afghanistan and Pakistan.