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Afghanistan Sends First Set of Cargo Trucks to Europe via Lapis Lazuli Route

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(Last Updated On: December 13, 2018)

The first set of Afghanistan’s cargo trucks left for Europe through Lapis Lazuli route on Thursday.

The trucks will cross Torghondi port in Herat into Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and eventually will reach to Europe after crossing Georgia and Turkey.

Inaugurating the Lapis Lazuli corridor on Thursday in western Herat province, President Ghani said the route will connect Afghanistan to South Asia, Central Asia and to Europe.

At the inauguration ceremony of the corridor,  high-ranking officials of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Georgia were also present.

At the event, Hamid Tahmasi, Afghan Minister of Transport said that the Lapis Lazuli route will facilitate landlocked Afghanistan in exporting its commercial products to European markets and that will develop the Afghan economy.

He stressed that the corridor will reduce the trade gap between Afghanistan and Europe and that will decrease the cost of imports and exports in the country.

The Lapis Lazuli corridor agreement was signed on November last year by five nations in Turkmenistan marking an important milestone in the collective efforts towards deepening connectivity and enhancing trade in the region.

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Atmar addresses concerns of Afghans in Tajikistan

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(Last Updated On: September 19, 2020)

On a two-day official visit to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, acting foreign affairs minister Haneef Atmar met with a number of Afghan refugees, students and business owners at the Afghan Embassy on Friday evening where he discussed challenges they are facing. 

In a statement issued by foreign affairs on Saturday, the ministry said Atmar assured students and business owners that problems they have been dealing with – specifically due to COVID-19 – would be addressed as soon as possible. 

Easy border crossings for bilateral trade was also addressed and the embassy was instructed to assist refugees with problems they are facing, the statement read. 

Addressing Afghan students that attended the meeting, Atmar said it was important for them to return to their home country once they had completed their studies so as to help with the development of Afghanistan.

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Pakistan to set up markets along Afghanistan-Pakistan border

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(Last Updated On: September 18, 2020)

Pakistan has decided to establish 18 markets along the Pakistan-Iran and Pakistan-Afghanistan borders, Pakistan government said.

Pakistan’s government would establish the markets aimed at boosting trade with the two countries and preventing the menace of smuggling.

The decision was made during a high-level meeting chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday, Khan’s office said in a statement.

“The meeting was told that twelve border markets will be established on the Pak-Afghan border while six border markets will be established on the Pak-Iran border,” the statement read.

“The Prime Minister has approved the establishment of two border market in Balochistan Province and one border market in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as a pilot project which will be completed and activated by February.”

Imran Khan’s Office noted that the decision to take more effective measures regarding the prevention of smuggling through borders

Talking about the establishment of border markets, the Prime Minister said that the establishment of markets where the population on border areas, especially youth, will get better business and trade opportunities, will come after fencing on the borders, the statement added.

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Kabul, Tehran review cooperation, agree to draw up new strategy

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(Last Updated On: September 16, 2020)

Iran and Afghanistan have agreed to draw up a comprehensive strategic economic document on bilateral cooperation, the head of Iran’s Customs Administration (IRICA) said.

According to Mehdi Mirashrafi, IRICA chief, “facilitating trade, exchanging customs information, solving border problems and developing transit are on the agenda of Iran and Afghanistan.” 

Speaking to journalists after a video conference with Afghan officials, Mirashrafi said: “The two sides decided to prepare a comprehensive strategic economic document, considering the determinations of the two countries for strategic cooperation.”

Tehran Times reported that on the activation of the Iran-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Tripartite Transit Corridor and the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Iran (KTAI) Quadripartite Corridor, Mirashrafi said: “This trend shows the serious determination of the Iranian Customs to facilitate transit through Afghanistan and connect Central Asian countries to international waters through the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.”

He also said Chabahar Port was one of the major issues discussed in the meeting.

“The port of Chabahar is an important and vital port for Afghanistan in the field of transit of goods through Iran, and accordingly, the Afghan side has demanded reducing visa fees and transit fees and reconsidering the penalties for customs violations in the transit route through Iran.”

The Chabahar seaport has been a vital development in Afghanistan’s efforts to increase connectivity with the region for trade purposes. 

The port is partly intended to provide an alternative for trade between India and Afghanistan as it is 800 kilometers closer to the border of Afghanistan than Pakistan’s Karachi port.

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