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Torkham row: Pak, Afghanistan still at odds

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Islamabad : Pakistan and Afghanistan are still unable to completely resolve the Torkham gate conflict even after five days since the incident took place.

A Pakistani official said yesterday that an agreement had been reached after Afghan envoy Dr Omar Zakhilwal met with Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Zubair Mehmood Hayat. The official added that Afghanistan would under this agreement end hostilities and allow continuation of work on erection of the gate, reports Dawn.

Post this agreement, Pakistan will also allow resumption of cross-border traffic at Torkham.

The Afghan ambassador, however, said in a statement that resumption of construction work was contrary to the agreement reached at the meeting though he accepted the confirmation of a ceasefire.

“Much to my disappointment it was presented as if it was agreed to in our meeting yesterday (to restart the construction work). Something that clearly was not, otherwise there would have been no need for our agreement to resolve this through talks expeditiously and amicably,” Zakhilwal said.

He instead claimed that the meeting concluded with an agreement on an immediate ceasefire and drawing down forces to de-escalate tensions. It was also agreed upon that a conversation at the leadership level is necessary to resolve the issue through talks and that the construction work would be halted to avoid any further incident.

The envoy also threatened to quit and return to his home country if the construction work was not stopped.

Hitting back at the ambassador’s statement, an official accused him of twisting facts and creating confusion. (ANI)

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