The Foreign Office (FO) said on Thursday that the closure of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Torkham border was “temporary” and a decision on reopening it would be taken in view of developments in the upcoming days. The Torkham border was closed on September 6 after at least two people, including a Frontier Corps (FC) official, were injured when a gun battle erupted between Pakistan and Afghan border forces. Officials in Pakistan blamed the other side for starting the midday firefight, which lasted for around two hours and came after the Afghan authorities started building a checkpoint on their side in a prohibited area, close to the main border crossing. The Afghan authorities already had a checkpoint, commonly known as the Larram Post, in the vicinity, but they started building another post over a small hill without discussing it with the Pakistani side. On September 11, a meeting between Pakistani and Afghan border security officials to reach an agreement over the reopening of the border remained inconclusive. During a question and answer session at a weekly press briefing, FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said Pakistan had been implementing the Afghanistan and Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement – signed in 2020 – “in good faith”. “We have facilitated our landlocked neighbour in their access to the rest of the world in terms of trade and we will continue to do so.” However, she said Pakistan had some concerns regarding the misuse of the transit trade agreement on which it would engage with the Afghan government. “Our major concern is that sometimes the exports that are meant for Afghanistan are diverted back to Pakistan and the customs duties and taxes are not paid as they should be. So, there are certain concerns of our customs authorities that people are misusing the bilateral provisions that allow for trade with Afghanistan,” Baloch added. In response to another question pertaining to the closure of the border, Baloch said Pakistan was concerned about the security threat emanating from Afghanistan and referred to the Sep 6 incident in Chitral – when at least four security men embraced martyrdom while more than 16 fighters were killed as militants’ attempts to enter Pakistan from Afghanistan were foiled by troops deployed along the border with the neighouring country. “We believe that such incidents embolden the terrorists and that is why it is important for the Afghan interim authorities to ensure that Afghan territory is not used to threaten Pakistan,” she maintained. The FO further added that action against Afghan refugees “harboring terror links” will be taken as per the laws. Meanwhile, in a statement, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Pakistan’s Chargé d’Affaires (CdA) to Afghanistan Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani met Afghan FM Amir Khan Muttaqi in Kabul. During the meeting, the leaders discussed the recent hike in terror incidents, the closure of the Torkham border, and arrests of Afghan migrants in Pakistan. Deliberations were also held on the bar on the transit of goods of Afghan traders in Karachi. The statement said Muttaqi and Nizamani stressed taking immediate steps to find solutions to the aforementioned problems and vowed to prevent such incidents in the future.