Torkham

Torkham

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Torkham is a border crossing town in the Nangarhar province
Nangarhar Province
Nangarhar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan in the east of the country. Its capital is the city of Jalalabad. The population of the province is 1,334,000, which consists mainly of ethnic Pashtuns with a sizable community of Arabs and Pashais....

 of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and the Khyber Agency
Khyber agency
Khyber is a tribal area in the FATA region of Pakistan. It is one of the eight tribal areas, better known as agencies in Pakistan. It ranges from the Tirah valley down to Peshawar...

 of Pakistan's
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 Federally Administered Tribal Areas
Federally Administered Tribal Areas
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas are a semi-autonomous tribal region in the northwest of Pakistan, lying between the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and the neighboring country of Afghanistan. The FATA comprise seven Agencies and six FRs...

, right on the Durand Line
Durand Line
The Durand Line refers to the porous international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has divided the ethnic Pashtuns . This poorly marked line is approximately long...

 border.
It is linked by a highway with Jalalabad
Jalalabad
Jalalabad , formerly called Adinapour, as documented by the 7th century Hsüan-tsang, is a city in eastern Afghanistan. Located at the junction of the Kabul River and Kunar River near the Laghman valley, Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar province. It is linked by approximately of highway with...

 to the west and Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

 to the east, connecting with N-5 National Highway
N-5 National Highway
The National Highway 05 or the N-5 is Pakistan's longest highway running from the port city of Karachi to the border crossing at Torkham...

 all the way to Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

. The town is only five kilometres west of the summit of the Khyber Pass
Khyber Pass
The Khyber Pass, is a mountain pass linking Pakistan and Afghanistan.The Pass was an integral part of the ancient Silk Road. It is mentioned in the Bible as the "Pesh Habor," and it is one of the oldest known passes in the world....

. Torkham is the busiest port of entry
Port of entry
In general, a port of entry is a place where one may lawfully enter a country. It typically has a staff of people who check passports and visas and inspect luggage to assure that contraband is not imported. International airports are usually ports of entry, as are road and rail crossings on a...

 between Afghanistan and Pakistan, serving as a major transporting, shipping, and receiving site between the two neighboring countries.

Torkham and the vast surrounding area is inhabited by ethnic Pashtun tribes
Pashtun tribes
The Pashtun people are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and the second largest in Pakistan. Pashtun, tribes are divided into four supertribal confederacies: the Arbanee , Betanee , Gharghasht, and Karlanee .Traditionally, according to folklore, all Pashtuns are said to have descended, at...

 or Pashtun people
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

. In November 2001 the New York Times reported that Torkham was the home of Hazrat Ali
Hazrat Ali
Hajji Hazrat Ali bin Bahawal Sheir is a military commander in eastern Afghanistan.-Biography:He was born in 1964 and is an ethnic Pashai....

, an anti-Taliban militia leader who seized power after the Taliban retreated.
The New York Times reported that Hazrati Ali had joined forces with two other militia leaders, Mawlawi
Mawlawi
Mawlawi may refer to:*Mevlevi Order, a Sufi order founded in Konya*Mawlawi , an honorific Islamic title often given to Sunni Muslim Clergy...

 Yunis Khalis, and Ezatullah
Ezatullah (Sorubi, Nangarhar, 2001)
A local leader of an anti-Taliban militia, from Sorubi, set up a provisional government in Nangarhar Province on November 16, 2001, after the Taliban retreated....

, to set up a regional provisional government.

In April 2006 the Afghan Border Police
Afghan Border Police
The Afghan Border Police secure Afghanistan's border and international airports. The ABP is also responsible to administer the country's immigration process and administer customs regulations. The ABP's anti-narcotic efforts are a prominent concern to the international community at present...

 began requiring travelers crossing the border at Torkham to possess valid travel documents.

Highway 7 connects Torkham to Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

.

American forces staff the nearby Towr Kham Fire Base
Towr Kham Fire Base
Towr Kham Fire Base is an American firebase in Nangarhar, Afghanistan.The firebase is manned by a platoon-sized force. It is a few minutes from the Towr Kham checkpoint on the Pakistan border....

.

Torkham lies on the most important supply route for ISAF forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan has used blocking supplies as a bargaining chip, for example as a reaction to coalition forces attacking targets in Pakistan for example in 2008 and 2010.

Railway


In 1891 the British
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 extended the Indian Railways
Indian Railways
Indian Railways , abbreviated as IR , is a departmental undertaking of Government of India, which owns and operates most of India's rail transport. It is overseen by the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India....

 (now Pakistan Railways
Pakistan Railways
This article is about the rail company in Pakistan. For technical details and operations see: Transport in Pakistan.Pakistan Railways is a national state-owned rail transport service of Pakistan, head-quartered in Lahore. It is administered by the federal government under the Ministry of Railways....

) to Torkham. The rails were not extended into Afghanistan to the north and west for political reasons.

Over much of the last century, there have been proposals to extend the Torkham line to Afghanistan and possibly beyond, passing through Jalalabad. These proposals have the support of the current Afghan government. In July 2010, Pakistan and Afghanistan signed a Memorandum of understanding
Memorandum of understanding
A memorandum of understanding is a document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action. It is often used in cases where parties either do not imply a legal commitment or in...

 for going ahead with the laying of rail tracks
Rail tracks
The track on a railway or railroad, also known as the permanent way, is the structure consisting of the rails, fasteners, sleepers and ballast , plus the underlying subgrade...

 between the two countries. Work on the proposed project was supposed to start in 2010.

See also

  • Spin Boldak
    Spin Boldak
    Spin Boldak or Spin Buldak is a border town in the southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan, right next to the Durand Line border with Pakistan. It is linked by a highway with the city of Kandahar to the north, and with Chaman and Quetta in Pakistan to the south. Spin Boldak has the second major...

  • Islam Qala
    Islam Qala
    Islam Qala , also transliterated Eslam Qaleh, Eslam Qala or Islam Kala, also known as Kafar Qaleh, is a border town in the western Herat province of Afghanistan, on the border with Iran...

  • Towraghondi
    Towraghondi
    Towraghondi is a border town in Afghanistan. It is immediately opposite Serhetabat in Turkmenistan, with which it is connected by a road and a 1520 mm gauge railway which was restored to use in 2007.- See also :*Islam Qala*Hairatan...

  • Hairatan
    Hairatan
    Hairatan is a border town in the north of Balkh province, Afghanistan, on the Amu Darya river. The river forms the border with Uzbekistan, and the two nations are connected by the Afghanistan–Uzbekistan Friendship Bridge. The city of Termez in Uzbekistan is close to Hairatan...

  • Shir Khan Bandar
    Shir Khan Bandar
    Shir Khan Bandar is a port on the Panj River in Afghanistan on the border with Tajikistan. Its old name was Qezel Qal‘eh. It was renamed after Shir Khan Nashir, Khan of the Kharoti tribe, governor of Kunduz and the rest of northern Afghanistan in the 1930s.- Transport :It is currently served via a...

  • Demogan
  • Durand Line
    Durand Line
    The Durand Line refers to the porous international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has divided the ethnic Pashtuns . This poorly marked line is approximately long...


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