Afghanistan threatens to close Pakistan’s transit route to Central Asia

Kabul : Pakistan has closed the Wagha Port for the Afghani businessmen/traders which generated a strong reaction from Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani threatened Pakistan to shut the transit route which connects Pakistan to Central Asia. He also clarified that they do not necessarily depend on Pakistan alone for trade and have other countries.

Will close transit route for Pakistan and Central Asia, threatens Afghanistan

Since last week, there had been few instances of verbal confrontations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and Ghani’s new threat is considered to be part of it. Before Wagha Port issue, Pakistan had a conflict with Afghanistan near “Chaman” border, where Pakistan closed all the trade routes for Afghanistan, thus cornering them. Also, last year Pakistan drove off more than one lakh Afghani refugees back to their country.

This incident had created tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Afghanistan has started replying back strongly. After warning Pakistan on Wagha border issue, Afghanistan threatened to directly close the transit route which unites the former to Central Asian countries. Afghani President threatened Pakistan during the meeting held in the presence of Owen Jenkins, UK appointed special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

President Ghani pointed out that, Afghanistan is no more a confined country and has many options for transportation. At the same time, he also accused Pakistan of deliberately closing the port during the fruit season, resulting in huge losses for Afghani businessmen. He also indicated that India has given special concessions for Afghani fruit exports.

These threats from Afghan President in recent months are considered to be part of an aggressive stand taken against Pakistan. Last week, Afghanistan had issued a death sentence to a senior leader of the terrorist group, “Haqqani Network” and brother of “Sirajuddhin Haqqani”, “Anas Haqqani”. Death penalty for Anas Haqqani is considered to be a strong setback for Pakistan supporting Haqqani network.

Earlier, Afghanistan had driven away 250 Pakistani workers out of their county. Last month, there was a terrorist attack on an American university in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Afghan president alleged that this attack was Pakistan’s conspiracy.      

On 18th August, protestors of both the countries clashed at Chaman, which is located at Afghanistan and Pakistan border. During that time, Afghani protestors seized Pakistan’s national flag from their protestors and burned it.

Since last year, Pakistan had been in the process of driving back the Afghani refugees. Since last few decades, Pakistan had kept these refugees in their country to maintain cordial relations with Afghanistan. But now, even Pakistan has taken an aggressive stand and has been sending the refugees back to Afghanistan saying that the latter has improved its conditions.

It has been suggested that by sending Afghani refugees back to their motherland, Pakistan is trying to teach them a lesson. This stand taken by Pakistan has been severely criticized on international platform. Afghanistan’s strong response to Pakistan’s above mentioned tactics is considered to be an aggressive message to the latter.

On Friday, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presided a meeting where it was decided that nearly 20 lakh Afghani refugees staying in Pakistan would be given an extended time till 31st March 2017 to return to their homeland.