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ADB Provides $887 Million to Support Inclusive, Sustainable Growth in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: November 1, 2017)

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has endorsed a new 5-year country partnership strategy (CPS) to establish a stronger foundation for sustainable growth and poverty reduction in Afghanistan, the bank said in a press release.

The 2017-2021 strategy is expected to provide $887 million in grants to Afghanistan, a founding member of ADB, through 2020. Sovereign operations will focus on energy, transport, and agriculture and natural resources. To date, ADB has provided over $4.9 billion in grants and loans to the country.

“ADB is one of Afghanistan’s leading partners in infrastructure and regional cooperation and brings in-depth experience delivering projects in fragile and conflict situations,” said Samuel Tumiwa, ADB Country Director for Afghanistan. “Our new CPS brings a holistic approach combining infrastructure investments with capacity building for the government to ensure ADB projects make an impact in reducing poverty and encouraging growth.”

Despite marked improvements since 2002, Afghanistan still faces a severe infrastructure deficit that negatively affects the country’s economic growth and job creation.

According to the bank, only about 32% of the population has access to grid-connected electricity and more than 70% of the interprovincial and inter-district roads remain in a poor state. Only 10% of irrigated land has formal irrigation systems, with the rest relying on inefficient informal systems that hold back productivity, higher incomes, and job opportunities.

The country’s security situation has hampered economic growth, averaging 1.4% during 2014-2016. With the poverty rate close to 40%, there is still a need to improve the country’s infrastructure, climate resilience, and gender equality.

ADB was one of the first organizations to return to Afghanistan in 2002 when the country needed help. The reconstruction work is part of a decade long partnership that has transformed lives in the country.

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Pakistan Airlines suspends Afghan operations citing IEA interference

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) suspended flights to the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Thursday after what it called heavy handed interference by Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) authorities.

The suspension took place after the IEA government ordered the airline, the only international company operating regularly out of Kabul, to cut ticket prices to levels seen before the fall of the Western-backed Afghan government in August.

“We are suspending our flight operations to Kabul from today because of the heavy handedness of the authorities,” a spokesman told Reuters.

Earlier, the IEA warned PIA and Afghan carrier Kam Air that their Afghan operations risked being blocked unless they agreed to cut ticket prices, which have spiralled to levels out of reach for most Afghans.

With most airlines no longer flying to Afghanistan, tickets for flights to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, have been selling for as much as $2,500 on PIA, according to travel agents in Kabul, compared with $120-$150 before.

The Afghan transport ministry said in a statement prices on the route should “be adjusted to correspond with the conditions of a ticket before the victory of the Islamic Emirate” or the flights would be stopped.

It urged passengers and others to report any violations.

PIA, which runs chartered flights to Kabul rather than regular commercial services, said it had maintained the flights on “humanitarian grounds” and faced insurance premiums of as much as $400,000 per flight, Reuters reported.

“The insurance premiums on these flights are so high that it is simply impossible to operate scheduled flights to Kabul, as it is still considered a war zone by aircraft insurance companies and lessors,” the company said in a statement.

No comment was immediately available from Kam Air.

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Afghan Civil Aviation Authority warns PIA and Kam Air to drop ticket prices

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(Last Updated On: October 14, 2021)

The Civil Aviation Authority of Afghanistan has warned Pakistan PIA and Afghan airline Kam Air to adjust ticket prices for flights from Kabul to Islamabad to what they were before the new government came into power.

The announcement by the Civil Aviation Authority, which was published on Thursday, states that flights of these two airlines will be stopped on this route in the event of non-compliance.

The statement added that Afghans should file a complaint to the office if they see any violations.

Ticket prices are said to have skyrocketed to as much as $2,000 for a one-way ticket against an approximate average of about $200 to $300 following the takeover by the new government.

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Iranian trade delegation visits Kabul for talks with IEA

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(Last Updated On: October 8, 2021)

An Iranian delegation visited Kabul this week to hold talks with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on strengthening economic and trade ties between the two countries.

Members of Afghanistan’s private sector said Thursday Iran’s trade with Afghanistan totals more than $1 billion a year, adding that the Iranian delegation has urged Afghanistan to facilitate exports and transit between the two countries.

Mirwais Hajizada, deputy head of the Afghanistan Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock stated: “We get Iran’s goods – from dairy products to construction materials and oil – but the export route from Iran to Afghanistan must be made easier.”

Meanwhile, a member of the Industrialists Union of Afghanistan said that expanding economic relations with Iran was important for Afghanistan.

He added that the government should discuss trade and investment, issues around Afghanistan’s exports as well as transit with the Iranian side.

“An agreement has been made with the delegation [Iran] in various sectors. We should increase cooperation with our neighbors to prevent an economic crisis in the country; we have shared details both about our domestic production and exports with the Islamic Emirate [officials],” Abdul Jabbar Safi, a member of the Union said.

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