Afghans ready to react if Torkham issue not resolved: Muslimyar
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Meshrano Jirga chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar on Thursday said if the Torkham border issue was not resolved through political means, the Afghans were ready to show their reaction against Pakistan.
The Pakistani paramilitary forces closed the border crossing three days ago after the Afghan border guards prevented them from building military installations in the border town, leaving stranded thousands of people and vehicles on both sides of the border.
Negotiations on the fencing issue remained sterile and the border remained closed for a second on Wednesday.
Thousands of stranded people, including women and children, stayed in mosques, hotels and other empty buildings in Torkham, Landikotal and other areas, a paramilitary commander told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Local residents offered food and shelter to the Afghans who spent a night in the open at different places in Landikotal. More than 300 Afghans had to stay in an under-construction mosque in Landikotal bazaar, he said.
Backed by tanks and armoured vehicles, troops from both countries were moved close to the Durand Line, according to the commander, who did not want to be named. Government servants, workers of private offices, students and teachers were asked to quit the tense border area.
Scores of trucks and trailers carrying fresh fruit and vegetables stayed stranded for the second day on the Pakistani side of the border. Worried by the situation, transporters put ice-blocks in the vegetables and fruits to keep them from going rotten.
Muslimyar, addressing a gathering in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, said the border was closed after the Afghan forces prevented their Pakistani counterparts from constructing installations.
“We hope the issue will be resolved through talks. If not, we will standby our border forces in their reaction.”
The Senate chairman criticised Pakistan’s policies towards Afghanistan, saying the neighbouring country after failing to honour pledges on fighting terrorism now wanted to divert people’s attention elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Wolesi Jirga member Faridon Khan Momand said the border closure had left stranded thousands of people who faced numerous problems. He said the cross border transportation had come to a close and the issue needed to be resolved soon.
He said the fencing by the Pakistani forces was against international laws and Pakistan closed the border in reaction to not allowing the fencing.
The lawmaker alleged the Pakistani forces were firing rockets into Afghan border towns in order to displace local people and allow militants to find sanctuaries there.
Momand, a resident of Ghushta district, said hundreds of families had left their homes in Gushta and Lalpur districts due to the cross border shelling and insurgents had surfaced in the affected areas.
Nangarhar provincial council secretary Zabihullah Zamarai said Pakistan was not sincere in its cooperation with Afghanistan and only pursued its own interests.
An emotional Zamarai told a gathering the Afghans did not recognise the Durand Line then how could they recognise Torkham border. He stressed an early solution to the problem.
He said if the issue could not be resolved through political means, the Afghans would stand behind their forces against Pakistan.
Nangarhar Governor Salim Khan Kunduzi said talks were underway to resolve the issue and hoped a solution would be found.
He said a number of stranded families, who awaited the reopening of the gate, had been sent health teams and food.
The governor denied if insurgents had entered areas vacated by local residents as a result of the rocket attacks from Pakistan into Gushta district.
He confirmed 110 families had been displaced in Gushta as a result of the shelling and said they would not allow militants to enter the area.
The governor also acknowledged that the Pakistani forces had a bit brought forward their posts in the border region but said a team was investigating the matter.
The Pakistan side has been silent regarding the issue.
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