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Pakistani troops opened fire on a group of Afghan civilians attempting to cross into Pakistan from Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least six people, Pajhwok Afghan News reported.
The incident reportedly occurred at the Torkham border crossing, a major trade and travel corridor linking Afghanistan and Pakistan. Torkham is the name of the Pakistani city on the eastern side of the border crossing, while the western side of the port pertains to the Afghan province of Nangarhar.
An unknown number of Pakistani soldiers “opened fire” on an unknown number of Afghan civilians at Torkham on August 27 “when they rushed towards the crossing gate and wanted to enter [the] Pakistani side,” according to Pajhwok Afghan News.“Some sources confirmed six people were killed and two others injured in the incident,” the news outlet revealed, adding that provincial officials in Nangarhar “have not spoken about the incident.”
Pakistan’s federal government ordered the total closure of the Torkham crossing this week to avoid an influx of Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban terror group’s recent takeover of Afghanistan, an unnamed Pakistani border official told the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper on August 26.
“We have closed the border on the government’s directives because Pakistan cannot afford to house more refugees. Pakistan is already home to three million Afghans,” the border official said.
The Torkham border crossing is located about 140 miles east of Kabul, Afghanistan’s national capital and seat of government. The Taliban invaded and seized control of Kabul on August 15, prompting thousands of the city’s residents to evacuate the city via Hamid Karzai International Airport. The mass evacuation efforts at the airport were severely hampered by attacks from Taliban militants, as well as stampedes. At least 20 people died trying to escape Kabul via the airport in recent days.
The airport was further attacked on Thursday by an unknown suicide bomber killing at least 13 U.S. military personnel, 169 Afghans, and wounding dozens more. The Islamic State took responsibility for the attack.
Many Afghans still desperate to escape Kabul have forgone the city’s chaos-ridden airport and instead ventured east on foot in an effort to cross into neighboring Pakistan via established border crossings, such as Torkham. Thousands of Afghans — including an unknown number of recently freed Taliban prisoners — streamed into Pakistan via its Chaman border crossing with Afghanistan last week, Al Jazeera reported on August 17.
“Thousands crowded through a newly installed passage for Afghan travellers into Pakistan at Chaman, with people directed through a wire-link fence topped with barbed wire from the international border to a transportation hub located less than a kilometre away,” according to Al Jazeera, which interviewed immigration officials from both sides of the border crossing, as well as Afghan travelers.
“Many of those gathered at the border told Al Jazeera that they were there to receive relatives who had been released from Afghan prisons by the Taliban,” the Qatari news outlet revealed.