Torkham is one of the major border crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan, located on the Durand Line border. It connects Nangarhar province of Afghanistan with Pakistan`s Federally Administered Tribal Areas ( FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.It is the busiest port of entry between the two countries, serving as a major transporting, shipping, and receiving site.Torkham lies at the end of the N-5 National Highway in Pakistan. It is connected to city of Peshawar 54 kilometers (34 mi) in the east. Transported goods arrive to Torkham from the port city of Karachi. Throughout history it has been an important trade route between the South Asia and Central Asia and a strategic military location.
|DMS:||34° 6′ 53″ N, 71° 5′ 5″ E|
|UTM:||42S 692276 3776839|
|Local time:||Monday 3:50 PM|
|Weather:||28°C, Wind E at 18 km/h, 44% Humidity|
|Climate:||With an influence from the local steppe climate, Torkham features a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh). The average temperature in Torkham is 20.3 °C, while the annual precipitation averages 407 mm. June is the driest month with an average rainfall of 8 mm, while the wettest month is March, with an average 82 mm of precipitation. June is the hottest month of the year with an average temperature of 31.0 °C. The coldest month January has an average temperature of 8.4 °C.|
Torkham gate named Bab-i-Pakistan
PESHAWAR: Pakistan named the newly constructed gate at Torkham, the historic trade route and border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, as Bab-i-Pakistan.
With the gate completed, flag hoisting ceremony on the Pakistani side has commenced.The flag is hoisted at 6am, signaling the opening of the gate, and is lowered at 7pm, with the border crossing closed for the day. The flag ceremony mirrors the one conducted daily at Wagah border crossing.It was deliberated earlier that the under construction gate be called Major Ali Jawad Changezi gate, after the army major lost his life in skirmishes against Afghan security forces.The crossing terminal has now been named Shaheed Major Ali Jawad Changezi terminal. The name for the gate and the crossing terminal was decided in a high level security meeting, said sources.Clashes between Pakistani and Afghan security forces over the construction of the border gate last month left four soldiers dead on both sides, including Frontier Corp’s Major Ali Jawad Changezi.The clashes kept Torkham, one of the busiest crossing points between the two countries and used by 15,000 to 20,000 people and hundreds of vehicles daily, closed for six days.The newly constructed Bab-i-Pakistan gate at Torkham. -Photo by author.Work on the construction of the gate and allied facilities began in 2014, but Afghan reservations over border regulation kept causing delays.At least 10 border flag meetings have been held between local commanders since 2015 for resolving the matter, in addition to several other interactions at higher level.The Afghan government has traditionally opposed Pakistani moves to regulate the border.Pakistani authorities, meanwhile, insist that border regulation is crucial for curbing cross-border terrorist movement in both ways.Under the new border management system, only people with valid travel documents will be allowed to cross the border. Pakistan plans to have similar border control measures at all six major crossing points between the two countries that share a 2,600km-long porous border.Additionally, there are about 200 crossing routes which are not frequently used because of difficult terrain and absence of roads. At least 88 of them are accessible only through jeeps.
The location has been used throughout history by Afghan and Turkic caravans, including marching armies of powerful empires. Most of these were on their way to Northern India, passing through Peshawar and then Lahore. Some of the well known regional historical figures who are believed to have passed through Torkham are Chandragupta Maurya, Hsüan-tsang, Jayapala, Al-Biruni, Ibn Battuta, Babur, Humayun, Nader Shah, Ahmad Shah Durrani, Zaman Shah Durrani, Dost Mohammad Khan, and Akbar Khan.Over much of the last century, there have been proposals to extend the (defunct) Khyber rail service to Afghanistan and possibly beyond, passing through Jalalabad. These proposals have the support of the current Afghan government. In recent years, Pakistan and Afghanistan signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) for going ahead with the laying of rail tracks between the two countries. Work on the proposed project was supposed to start in 2010.In November 2001 the New York Times reported that Torkham is Hazrat Ali’s hometown. Ali was an anti-Taliban militia leader who seized power after the Taliban retreated. It was reported that Hazrati Ali had joined forces with two other militia leaders, Mawlawi Yunis Khalis, and Ezatullah, to set up a regional provisional government.
On the Pakistani side, Torkham lies at the end of the N-5 National Highway. It is connected to city of Peshawar in the east. Transported goods arrive to Tokham from the port city of Karachi in Sindh province. Torkham is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) west of the summit of the Khyber Pass. It lies on the most important supply route for US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s government sometimes block supplies due to the American use of drone strikes in Pakistan.In April 2006 the Afghan Border Police began requiring travelers crossing the border at Torkham to possess valid travel documents
Transporters stage protest at Torkham border
Transporters stuck at Torkham border staged a protest demonstration on Thursday as the authorities indefinitely closed two border crossings with Afghanistan after opening them for two days to let through Afghans with visas.
In the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks in the country, the authorities had closed the Torkham border for transporting commodities and vehicular movements.Dozens of drivers and cleaners while holding black flags chanted slogans in favour of their demands. They were of the view that if they were not allowed to cross the border to Afghanistan then they should be allowed to return to Karachi to unload the merchandise and transit goods.Parked in Torkham parking lots, the tyres and engines of the loaded trucks had been damaged, which was a huge financial blow to them besides loss of the commodities.“For the last three weeks, we have been cooking our food after buying it from Landi Kotal, eight kilometres away, as Torkham bazaar had been kept closed since the first day of the border closure,” they said.They lamented that the cash had finished and they were meeting their daily needs by borrowing it from their colleagues. They demanded of the authorities concerned to have mercy on them and forthwith address their problems.Approximately 235 vehicles loaded with export and transit goods including cement, flour, potatoes, sugar, small machinery etc, have been stuck at Torkham due to the border closure.The traders and merchants of vegetables and fruits stressed the government to allow passage of trucks and trailers loaded with perishable items, stuck at Torkham for the last 20 days.Addressing a news conference at Peshawar Press Club, President All Pakistan Agriculture Produce Traders’ Federation (APAPTF) Malik Sohni said around 500 trucks loaded with vegetables, fruits and other food items were stuck at Torkham due to closure of the border. He said most of trucks were loaded with perishable food items, due to which local traders suffered losses worth millions of rupees.Other officebearers of the federation, including Malik Iftikhar Awan, and president of Gur Mandi Peshawar, Haji Ihsanullah Mohmand were also present on the occasion. Malik Sohni appreciated the steps taken by the government and the army for boosting security at the border. He sought prior intimation for closure of the border allowing timely crossing of food consignments.“We welcome government’s decision to open the border on humanitarian basis for stranded people,” he said. He urged the government to extend the relaxation to traders and merchants’ community as well and save them from huge financial losses.On the occasion, Ihsan Mohmand said the trucks loaded with gur (brown sugar) departed from Peshawar on February 15, but were stranded due to prolonged closure of the border. He lamented that prices of gur were going down from Rs4,600 per sack against previous rate of Rs5,900, due to which they had lost millions of rupees, he added.He also said they had to pay out additional charges of Rs3,000 per truck as fare on daily basis. He urged the government and authorities concerned to reopen the border for the food consignments.Malik Iftikhar said strict border management and security measures were essential for sustainable peace and for protection of people. “If the border is closed in emergency situations then the trucks should be allowed to cross the border first,” he demanded.Meanwhile, the Torkham border was sealed for indefinite period after reopening it for two days, a border security official said on Thursday.The official said that 24,140 stranded Afghan nationals having valid travelling documents crossed the border to Afghanistan while 850 Pakistani citizens came into Pakistan. He said on Wednesday night at 10pm, the border was closed. The federal government had opened the Torkham and Chaman borders on March 7 and 8 to facilitate the stranded Afghan citizens.According to Reuters, two men, a woman and a child were trampled to death in the resulting surge of more than 20,000 Afghans passing through the crossings, said Attahullah Khogyani, the government spokesman for Afghanistan’s border province of Nangarhar.Pakistani official Niaz Mohammad, based in Torkham, said 24,000 Afghans had returned to Afghanistan on foot, while 700 Pakistanis returned home, before the border was closed again on Wednesday. “There is no clarity on when the border will be reopened,” Mohammad said.
Closure of Torkham border causes millions rupees loss to traders
The Pak Afghan border at Torkham remained closed on sixth consecutive day causing a big loss to the national exchequer of both countries and the business of local people.
After the terrorist attack at the Shrine of Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan of Sind province on last Friday night the the Pak-Afghan border at Torkham closed as the Daesh group had claimed the responsibility of the attack and according to the security officials the bombing plot was sketched in Afghanistan.
According to the officials of the custom department at Torkham, they have also closed all crossing points at Torkham as well as in Kurram Agency obeying the order of federal government.
The trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan has also been suspending from last six days which was causing a big loss to the national exchequer of both countries. a custom clearance agent Gulab said that the border closure was causing million rupees loss to the both country’s import and export business on daily basis.
An official of the custom department told this scribe that due to the closure of the Torkham border the Afghan transit trade has also suspended which was causing a loss to both countries transporters and traders. He said that 100 to 110 Afghan transit trade containers were used to be cleared at Torkham on daily basis which now has halted. The official said that many empty containers were also stuck on Afghanistan side which would cause a huge loss of money to the transporters and traders of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The official also added that there were many trucks at Torkham loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables which has now rotten due to the closure of border with Afghanistan.
Riwaj, a local of Bacha Maina Torkham told media they have relatives in Ningarhar province and his saplings have gone to Afghanistan to participate in a wedding ceremony. He said as they returned back they found the Torkham border was closed and were not permitted to enter Pakistan. He demanded the authorities to permit the locals while entering from and to Afghanistan and to settle the issues through talks.
Hundreds of Afghanistan nationals have been trapped in Landikotal owing to the border closure. a resident of Ningarhar, Saida Gul told media in Landikotal that he was disable with two legs and has been stranded in Landikotal from last six days due to the closure of Torkham border. He told journalists he had no money to pay hotel bills and facing troubles. Another Afghan jan told the trapped afghan persons should be given permission to go Afghanistan as they were in big trouble due to the border seal.
It is pertinent to mention here that a newlywed bride had to stay at Landikotal for three days due to the closure of Torkham border who was permitted by the Torkham border officials to enter Afghanistan the other day.
Reopening of Torkham border demanded
Political party leaders, Custom clearance agents, Traders and transporters hold a protest demonstration in Landikotal against the closure of Pak-Afghan border and demanded the regimes in Islamabad and Kabul to settle the issues though table talks.On the call of all custom clearance agents of Torkham, a large number of custom agents, traders, transporters and political party leaders gathered at Landiktoal bazaar and hold protest demonstration demanding the immediate reopening of Torkham border.
The chairman of Torkham custom clearance agents Mairaj uddin Shinwari, President of PPP Khyber Agency Hazrat Wali Afridi and Murad Hussain the ameer of Jamat-e-Islam Landikotal criticized the FATA parliamentarian for their criminal silence over the Torkham border closure issue.
Mairaj uddin Shinwari said that Torkham border has been closed since 17th February which has suffered the traders, transporters and all common people of Landikotal. He said the people here has no other source of income but all the traders, transporters and shopkeeper depend upon the Torkham border which was a source of income for them and their family.
The speakers urging the FATA parliamentarian said the FATA representatives should take up the issue with the high authorities of the government to reopen the Pak-Afghan border.
The protesters holding banners inscribed with their demands chanted full throat slogans demanding to reopen Pak-Afghan border and asked the both governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan to peacefully settle the disputes through negotiations.