ISLAMABAD: The Afghan Taliban said on Thursday security problems between Pakistan and Afghanistan should be solved through “joint committees” and border crossings crucial to the passage of goods and travelers should not be closed due to “political and security considerations.”
The announcement came after Pakistan’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Ambassador Asif Khan Durrani, visited Kabul on Thursday and held talks with the Taliban administration’s acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have been in a months-long standoff over Islamabad’s accusations that its neighbor is harboring militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and allowing them to use its soil to launch attacks. Afghanistan has rejected this allegation.
Last Friday, a key border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Torkham reopened after a nine-day closure due to clashes between border forces. Thousands of travelers and hundreds of trucks laden with goods has been stranded the closure of the Torkham border crossing, at the western end of the fabled Khyber Pass.
“Security issues should be resolved through joint committees and border crossings should not be closed due to political and security considerations,” Afghan Deputy Spokesman Hafiz Zia Ahmad said.
“Afghanistan and Pakistan, as two neighbors and Islamic countries, should refrain from making statements against each other so that it does not cause the distance between the two sides to widen.”
He said Kaul had “good intentions” and would not allow anyone to “spoil” relations between the two countries.
The Pakistani envoy was quoted by Ahmad as saying he would “come up with solutions for the problems that have arisen at crossing points between Pakistan and Pakistan.”
The Pakistani foreign office has not yet commented on the meeting.
Earlier, in its account of the clashes at Torkham, Pakistan said the Taliban administration had tried to encroach on its territory with the construction of an “unlawful structure” and cited “indiscriminate firing” by Afghan forces.
The Taliban foreign ministry criticized the closure of the crossing and said Pakistan security forces had fired on its border guards as they fixed an old security outpost.