Border fencing escalates Pakistan-Afghanistan tension
Truck drivers and families stranded on either side of Torkham border which has been shut for three days.
Tension at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border has escalated over the fencing of a 2km area at the Torkham crossing which was stopped by the Afghan forces.
The border crossing has been closed for three days and Pakistani officials have insisted that it will remain shut until Afghanistan takes back its objection to the fencing.
Pakistan said there is infiltration of fighters from the Afghanistan side and fencing of the border was the only immediate solution to keep a check on the people crossing the border.
Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from the Pakistan side of the Torkham crossing, said there were thousands of lorries that have been stranded at the border for three days because of the closure.
“The drivers are facing hardships and are living in tough conditions by the roadside,” he said.
“They are carrying supplies for the NATO forces in Afghanistan and there are perishable items including food and vegetables on the trucks.”
Families waiting to cross the border into Afghanistan told Al Jazeera they wanted to go back to their homeland and start a new life after spending almost three decades as refugees in Pakistan.
The lorry drivers complained of being stranded on the roadside without food and water for three days and urged both governments to resolve the issues on an immediate basis.
The 2,250km Pakistan-Afghanistan border is also known as the Durand line because it was demarcated by Sir Mortimer Durand during the British rule of India.
Afghanistan’s successive Pashtun-dominated governments have long disputed the border demarcations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
With the creation of Pakistan, the border has become a point of contention between the two countries. Afghanistan has demanded a re-negotiation of the border, something that is rejected by Pakistan. It’s a key obstacle hindering improvement of relations between the two countries. – Hashmatallah Moslih
With additional reporting by Hameedullah Khan at the Torkham border