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IMF to disburse US$220 million to Afghanistan to fight COVID19 pandemic

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(Last Updated On: April 30, 2020)

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved US$220 million in aid to fight the Coronavirus in Afghanistan.

The International Monetary Fund has said the aid comes into effect upon the request of the Afghan government.

The Afghan Ministry of Finance stated that a large portion of the money will be used to fight Coronavirus, and another part will be used to keep the country’s economic turnover active.

“We had applied for a loan from the International Monetary Fund, which has been approved,” said Shamrooz Khan Masjidi, the spokesman for the Ministry of Finance.

He added that in addition to fighting the coronavirus, the money would be used to keep Afghanistan’s economic turnover active.

On the other hand, the private sector is asking the Afghan government to spend this money on strengthening the private sector, given the current state of investment in the country.

While experts say that global aid in the fight against the Coronavirus is beneficial, they are concerned about the management of the funds of this sort.

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Pakistan’s Chaman border, closed for days due to fear of Afghans influx

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

A day after protesters took to the streets of Chaman in Pakistan to demand the re-opening of the border crossing into Afghanistan, scores were seen waiting by the border road on Saturday.

Hundreds of people are stranded on both sides of the Chaman border crossing that has been closed for almost two weeks now, Reuters reported.

“This border has been closed for the last 13 days. We have been sitting here for the past 13 days for it to open. We come here at 8:00 in the morning, but by 10:00 we go back, because they (officials) are saying it could not open for months. Whatever money we had earned, we have spent all of it here,” said Sami Ullah, a laborer from Baghlan province who had gone to Karachi for work.

Pakistani officials have said the border has been temporarily closed apparently due to the fear of an influx of Afghans who want to leave their homeland after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) seized power in August.

Chaman border crossing , the second-largest commercial border point with Afghanistan after the Torkham commercial town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, links with Spin Boldak in the Afghan province of Kandahar, and is used by thousands of labourers, as well as traders, from both countries on a regular basis.

On Friday, thousands of traders took to the streets of Chaman, some on horseback, demanding that the border be opened, Reuters reported.

According to reports, thousands of Afghans have been gathering near the border in their efforts to sneak into Pakistan which has already announced that it was not in a position to accept more refugees.

Already around three million Afghan refugees are already living in Pakistan, some for more than three decades, since the invasion of their country by the Russians in 1979.

Pakistan officials say they fear around a million more would enter the country if border regulations are relaxed.

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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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