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Afghan traders uncertain about Pakistan transit cooperation

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AT-KABUL: Afghanistan’s traders’ body says it does not trust Pakistan to cooperate in resolving transit and trade challenges confronting Afghan businessmen.

After tensions raised between Kabul and Islamabad over the latter making troubles for the transit of the Afghan merchandise via Karachi sea port, Pakistan is said to facilitate export-import of Afghan goods.

Khan Jan Alokozai, deputy head of the chamber of commerce and industries said Saturday that Pakistan has repeatedly made problems for Afghan business by stopping their trucks in the border.

“Pakistan does not fulfill its pledges. We need to solve problems with that country because we have to stop our fruit exports and they will be putrefied,” Alokozai said.

Afghan exports have decreased from 90 per cent in the past to 20 per cent via Karachi port after what traders say “Pakistan started making problems”.

The problem has relatively reduced as two air corridors with India have been launched and the government found new ways such as Iran’s Chabahar port as well as the Torghondi and Aqina ports that links Afghanistan to the Central Asian countries. But Afghanistan still needs Pakistan soil to export fruit and import other goods.

Meanwhile, the Nation news agency has quoted Rana Mohammad Afzal, Pakistani finance minister as saying that Islamabad planned to speed up the transit of Afghan exports and provide facilities for Afghan traders in Pakistan custom offices.

Pakistani police reportedly stopped Afghan trucks for weeks that harmed them with millions of dollars losses.

Mosafer Qoqandi, spokesman for the commerce ministry said that the government had frequently asked Pakistan to stop what he called “dual policies” regarding Afghan trade

Saifoddin Sayhoon, economic expert said that the problem of Afghan-Pakistan business transaction is political and Pakistan tries to hurt Afghanistan economically.

“I hope that Pakistan realizes that overcoming the poverty in the two countries needs a mutual cooperation.”