Crossing on Pak-Afghan border expands to 24 hours in bid to boost trade - GulfToday

Crossing on Pak-Afghan border expands to 24 hours in bid to boost trade


Imran Khan inaugurates Torkham crossing on Wednesday. Twitter photo

A major crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan has expanded to operating 24 hours a day, in an effort to accelerate trade between the two countries along an often dangerous border.

The expanded hours took effect earlier this month on a trial basis and were inaugurated on Wednesday by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

"The moment this was opened, trade immediately rose 50 per cent," Imran said of the expanded hours at a ceremony at the border. "We hope that it will bring prosperity to this whole region."

Highways from the Afghan capital Kabul and the Pakistani capital Islamabad pass through Torkham. Before this month, the crossing was open 12 hours a day.

TorkhamGate750A view of the Torkham gate at Pak-Afghan border. Twitter photo

Afghan-Pakistani trade was worth $1.5 billion in 2016, with Pakistan shipments accounting for 80% of it, according to a database compiled by the World Bank, United Nations and World Trade Organisation.

Pakistan PM aims to restart Afghan peace talks

Imran said that his government would try to revive Afghanistan peace talks that recently broke down between the United States and the Taliban militant group.

"I assure you that we will use full force so that these dialogues proceed further. It is unfortunate that these peace talks were suspended," Imran said at a ceremony at Pakistan's Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan.

"We will try our best to revive the Afghan peace process."

US President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled secret talks with the Taliban at his Camp David retreat that were planned for Sept.8 and has since said the talks are "dead."

Imran is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly this month.

Imran also said there was "no chance of talks" with India about its clampdown on the disputed territory of Kashmir until it lifted a curfew for people there.







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