The Afghan-Pakistan border crossings at Torkham and Chaman-Spin Boldak were closed by the Pakistani government after a string of militant attacks in mid-February, which the Pakistani military leadership claimed were carried out by militants operating from sanctuaries in Afghanistan. As a result, hundreds of Pakistani and Afghan citizens, carrying valid travel documents, were stranded on the 1600 mile border. The border closure was intended to increase security in Pakistan and check the influx of terrorists from Afghanistan. It was painted out by the Pakistani administration as a ‘necessary step’ in the interest of both countries to be able to work together in combating terrorism—as though closing one of South Asia’s busiest trade routes and halting trade could help the fragile Afghan-Pak relationship resolve its differences.
This begs the question: What does the government’s decision to seal the Pak-Afghan border then achieve?
Apparently, it led to a surge in the already very high anti-Pakistan sentiment in Afghanistan. The closure was read by majority Afghans as a way to inflict pressure on the Kabul government to take action against terrorist sanctuaries on Afghan soil.