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Parliament ratifies Iran, Afghanistan rail cooperation agreement

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(Last Updated On: May 31, 2021)

Iran’s Parliament on Monday passed Iran-Afghanistan Rail Cooperation Agreement that allows rail connection between the neighboring countries.

Iran and Afghanistan agreed to make direct connection through railroad to transfer passengers and goods.

According to the agreement, the two sides have agreed to provide rail vehicles and services and implement sanitary supervision in accordance with international rules, while domestic rules are valid where an issue occurs outside of international conventions.

The agreement also states that the two sides must treat passengers and goods from the other side the way they treat their own. This applies to free access to destination points, providing space for cargos in terminals, unloading and uploading of cargos, onboarding and offboarding passengers, and using international railroad services.

Islamic Republic of Iran Railways and Afghanistan Railway Authority have been chosen in the agreement as qualified authorities to supervise implementing the agreement and to solve disagreements.

Iran and Afghanistan linked their railway through Iran’s Khaf and Afghanistan’s Herat.

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Afghan carpet industry facing major challenges: ACCI

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(Last Updated On: July 26, 2021)

Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) said on Sunday that the Afghan carpet industry is facing numerous challenges despite the foreign aid that has been injected into the industry.

The ACCI said that the lack of a dedicated industrial park and a suitable place to produce carpets are a key challenge that they face.

Carpet makers also said that the drop in exports of Afghan carpets is a major problem.

Abdul Jabar Safi, head of the craftsmen association said despite millions of dollars having been spent and funding from USAID being received no dedicated industrial parks have been established in Andkhoy and Jalalabad – both carpet making hubs.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry meanwhile said efforts are being made to resume the traditional craft of carpet making in order to preserve the Afghan carpet industry’s uniqueness.

The ministry said that they have assisted carpet producers recently.

“It (new carpet industry) undermines the credibility of Afghan carpets. One good point of the Afghan carpet sector is that it provides 100,000 jobs for people especially for women,” said Fawad Ahmadi, spokesman for the ministry.

Analysts say that the carpet production industry will come to an end if government does not address the carpet producers’ challenges.

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US, Afghanistan, Pakistan Uzbekistan form platform for regional cooperation

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(Last Updated On: July 16, 2021)

The United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan have agreed in principle to form a new diplomatic platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity, the US State Department said on Friday.

“The parties consider long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan critical to regional connectivity and agree that peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing,” the Department said in a statement.

“Recognizing the historic opportunity to open flourishing interregional trade routes, the parties intend to cooperate to expand trade, build transit links, and strengthen business-to-business ties,” the statement read.

The parties agreed to meet in the coming months to determine the modalities of this cooperation with mutual consensus, the US said.

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Border crossings seized by Taliban impact customs revenue

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(Last Updated On: July 10, 2021)

The Afghan government said Saturday that the fall of key dry ports has disrupted exports and imports, imposing negative impacts on the country’s economic activities.

The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) stated that the Taliban militants have captured seven key dry ports – the Islam Qala border and the Torghundi border towns, two trade gateways to Iran and Turkmenistan; Abu Nasr Farahi port, bordering with Iran, in Farah; Sher Khan Port in Kunduz and Ay Khanom port in Takhar, two trade gateways to Tajikistan; Aqina port in Faryab, a trade gateway to Turkmenistan; and Dand-e-Patan crossing to Pakistan in Paktia.

Khan Jan Alokozay, Deputy Chairman of ACCI, has raised concerns about the collapse of the ports, stating the traders can not pay taxes to both the government and the Taliban.

“Now, if we pay taxes in two places, it will directly impact the market, and rates will climb up to two hundred times higher than now,” Alokozay said.

Meanwhile, the price of food and raw materials have been increased in markets after the closure of these customs.

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