Another thaw in Pakistan Afghanistan bilateral relations
Afghanistan recently closed the Torkham border crossing with Pakistan in response to Pakistan's imposition of visa requirements for Afghan drivers. Consequently, trade activities between the two nations have come to a standstill.
Pakistan declared that Afghan drivers must obtain visas to enter its territory, leading to the blocking of truck entry at the border. Despite this restriction, ordinary citizens are still permitted to cross with a valid visa. However, numerous Afghan drivers reported facing challenges in obtaining visas, adversely impacting their businesses and livelihoods.
Some drivers, like Rahatullah, shared their experiences of visa application rejection, highlighting the hurdles they encounter. Rehmanullah Atmanzai mentioned paying fees for a visa that he had yet to receive, emphasizing the financial strain on drivers.
In response to these difficulties, many Afghan drivers resort to clandestine travel within Pakistan without proper visas, engaging in daily activities like praying and eating discreetly. They also find themselves compelled to pay additional money to Pakistani citizens for food.
Expressing their frustrations, Atmanzai emphasized that having a visa would alleviate the need to hide and live in fear while in Pakistan. He proposed a practical solution, suggesting that visas be issued at the border rather than requiring a visit to the embassy.
This incident marks a recurring closure of the Torkham border crossing, underscoring the ongoing challenges and tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.