Issue Brief on “Pak- Afghan Relations: Come Back to the Boardroom”

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan are once again at an all time low following a series of clashes along the Pak – Afghan border which have led to fatalities on both sides. Pakistan has long been calling for stronger border management including the recent proposal for the construction of a gate at the Torkham crossing. However, the Afghan government has strongly opposed all border initiatives. In June 2016, Pakistan had announced new border rules including the construction of a gate at Torkham for ‘facilitating cross-border movement,’ ‘a necessity to check and verify all those crossing the border’ and ‘stop militants from crossing into Pakistan.’ Pakistan’s foreign office stated that although Afghan authorities had been intimated about Pakistan’s  initiatives  at  Torkham, the Afghan’s resorted to unprovoked firing which resulted in the death of Major Jawad Ali Changezi well as an Afghan soldier.

Following border clashes, public demonstrations were held in both countries to express immense anger over the incident. In Afghanistan, mass rallies were held against Pakistan in Jalalabad and Lashkar Gah where Pakistani flags were burnt and slogans of ‘death to Pakistan’ were chanted. Similarly in Pakistan, emotions ran high amongst the public who demanded the expulsion of Afghan refugees from Pakistan.

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