FO: Pakistan can’t allow misuse of Afghan transit trade

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office has asked interim Afghan authorities to ensure that their territory is not used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against Pakistan.

In response to media queries regarding the statement by the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the closure of Torkham border, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said we expect the Afghan authorities to be mindful of Pakistan’s concerns and respect its territorial integrity.

Expressing surprise over the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement, she said Interim Afghan authorities know fully well the reasons for the temporary closure of Torkham border.  

The spokesperson said Pakistan cannot accept the construction of any structures by Interim Afghan government inside its territory since these violate its sovereignty.

She pointed out that on the 6th of September, instead of a peaceful resolution, Afghan troops resorted to indiscriminate firing, targeting Pakistan military posts, damaging the infrastructure at the Torkham Border Terminal, and putting the lives of both Pakistani and Afghan civilians at risk, when they were stopped from erecting such unlawful structures.

She said such unprovoked and indiscriminate firing on Pakistani border posts cannot be justified under any circumstances. The unprovoked firing by Afghan border security forces invariably emboldens the terrorist elements. These elements are enjoying sanctuaries inside Afghanistan as confirmed by the UN Security Council’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team in its latest report.

The spokesperson said Pakistan has welcomed Afghan brothers and sisters with open arms for decades.

She said Pakistan has continued to exercise restraint and prioritize dialogue in the face of persistent unwarranted provocations by Afghan troops deployed along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Temporary closures take place only in extreme cases such as the 6th September 2023 incident on the border or when Afghan soil is used to launch terror attacks inside Pakistan.

The spokesperson said the statement of the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs also includes some irrelevant comments and unsolicited advice about Pakistan’s economy and foreign trade.

For the last several decades, Pakistan has facilitated Afghan transit trade and will continue to do so. However, she said Pakistan cannot allow the misuse of the transit trade agreement.

She said Pakistan stands ready to resolve all bilateral issues and concerns through constructive dialogue so that both countries can reap the dividends of economic connectivity and resultant prosperity.