Connect with us


Three Afghan-Pakistan borders set to reopen for trade

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: June 20, 2020)

Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to reopen three key border crossings for trade traffic between the two countries from Monday.

According to Pakistan media, the border crossings are Torkham, Chaman, and Ghulam Khan, which have mostly been closed since March as part of broad-based lockdown measures by both countries amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Dawn news reported on Saturday that a notification issued late Friday night by the Pakistan Ministry of Interior stated: “I am directed to refer to this ministry’s letter of even no dated May 1, 2020, on the subject cited above and to convey that competent authority has approved management of Afghan transit/bilateral trade and pedestrian movement along Pak-Afghan border with effect from June 22.”

The notification stated the planned opening would be for import and export traffic and an “unlimited number of trucks will be allowed per day for both Afghan transit and bilateral trade: while ensuring all COVID-19-related standard operating procedures and protocols” are followed.

According to the report, trade traffic will be allowed to transit six days a week, except Saturday. On that day the borders will be open for pedestrian traffic.

“Saturday will be reserved for pedestrian movement only at Torkham, Chaman and Ghulam Khan border terminals”, the notification read.

Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Atif Mashal, who confirmed to Xinhua news that the crossings would reopen for trade, said this means Afghan traders will be able to resume the export of their fresh produce.

“It is the peak time for Afghan exports of fresh fruits and vegetables as both are now ready for export,” Mashal said.

In addition, a Pakistani official in North Waziristan, told Xinhua, that officials of the two countries had agreed on procedures and regulations for the cross-border trade in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Officials reportedly agreed that truck drivers and all involved in the cross-border trade will follow strict standard operating procedures to contain the spread of the virus and that drivers will undergo tests at the quarantine centers established on both sides of the border.

This move comes just days after Afghan traders raised their concerns over the continued trade restrictions which they said had caused them huge losses.

Earlier this week, the Afghan Traders’ Union chairman, Omaid Haidari, told Anadolu Agency that the border closures had cost Afghan traders more than US$100 million.

He also stated that while Afghan traders had been barred from entering Pakistan amid the Coronavirus outbreak, Pakistan continued to export goods to Afghanistan.

Haidari said that hundreds of trucks loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables destined for Pakistan and India had been stranded for months at the main Chaman and Torkham border crossings.


Afghanistan customs revenue lost to ’embezzlement’

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: July 9, 2020)

Although taxpayers pay customs duties at the Afghan customs, not all of the revenue being collected in the Afghan government’s account, local officials said.

The ports of Torkham in Nangarhar, Islam Qala in Herat, Hairatan in Balkh, Aqina in Faryab, Spin Boldak in Kandahar, Shirkhan Bandar in Kunduz, Angur Ada in Paktika and several other ports in the north and south of the country have witnessed widespread corruption.

In these ports, although custom fees are paid by taxpayers, little money is raised in government reserves, most of the ports are said to be in the hands of gunmen and the powerful.

Local officials in the provinces where the ports are located say that corruption in customs has recently peaked.

On the other hand, the Integrity Watch of Afghanistan criticizes the lack of administrative reforms, adding that unreasonable appointments have increased corruption in the country’s customs and that the government has not yet taken any steps to reform the process. According to the head of the institution, the current situation has led to organized corruption in customs.

The Ministry of Finance also promises to bring transparency to the country’s customs.

Finance Ministry spokesman Shamrooz Khan Masjidi said customs revenues are being closely monitored to prevent corruption.

Earlier, the governor of Herat said that Islam Qala’s revenue was being looted by mafia gangs and the warlords. According to economists, this is the case in most of the country’s customs.

Continue Reading


Millions of dollars embezzled in Afghan customs: Watchdog

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: July 6, 2020)

Integrity Watch of Afghanistan says that corrupt employees in Afghan customs, local tyrants, and government figures have embezzled millions of dollars of customs revenues.

Based on the findings of local authorities, ten cargoes are being pulled out of the customs office without paying the customs duty with the same plate number, and about 100 cargoes are not paying their customs duties daily.

Ghulam Hashim, a member of the Herat Provincial Council, said: “Ten trucks are being cleared through customs with one plate number. Extra tonnage vehicles up to 100 trucks a day, extra tonnage fuel tankers were being cleared through customs.”

The head of Islam Qala Customs also confirms the widespread corruption in this customs.

“The threats from the powerful and the mafia are so much that 100 percent of the legal work cannot be done there, the high-level work of the employees is carried out by force, and even some employees, including the human resources manager, have been beaten,” said Mustafa Hakimi, Herat’s customs chief. “

Herat’s governor says only 30,000 afghanis are paid out of the three million AFN from the costums duties of a cargo.

Ahmad Wahid Qatali, the governor of Herat, said: “Seven vehicles have been loaded, seven of which have illegal loads, overloads, warnings and reload.”

Findings of Integrity Watch of Afghanistan from the Customs Office show that millions of dollars’ worth of customs revenue has been lost.

“Millions of dollars of Afghanistan’s customs revenue is wasted every year because there are people infected with corruption in the customs and the intervention of local powerful people and people within the government,” said Naser Timouri, a researcher at Integrity Watch of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Finance, however, confirmed the existence of corruption in the customs.

“The issue of corruption is not in doubt that it exists, but the figures presented are waiting for the governor to share his findings with us so that we can find out on what basis the governor obtained these figures,” said Shamrooz Khan Masjidi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance. It’s found. “

Observers at Integrity Watch of Afghanistan say that non-transparent and non-competitive customs clearance has corrupted the structure.

Farid Ahmad, a spokesman for the Independent Administrative Reform Commission, said: “So far, all recruitment at customs has been done by the Ministry of Finance and the Independent Administrative Reform Commission has played no role. But by presidential decree, customs posts are set to compete freely.” “

Although the Ministry of Finance says that scanners have been set up in customs offices for corruption, sources say that in some customs offices, the scanners are kept inactive due to product exemptions.

Continue Reading


Afghanistan, India sign MoUs for development of educational infrastructure

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: July 5, 2020)

Memorandum of Understandings for the construction of five educational infrastructures was signed between Afghanistan and India on Sunday.

According to the agreement, three schools and two universities will be built in Nuristan, Farah, Badakhshan, and Kapisa with the cost of $ 2.6 million. 

The MoUs were signed by Economy Minister Mustafa Mastoor, Higher Education Minister Abdul Tawab Balakarzai, Deputy Education Minister Abdul Subhan Raouf, and Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar on Sunday.

The agreement envisages the construction of two schools in Badakhshan province and one school in Nuristan province for the Ministry of Education, and the construction of a road at Kapisa Medical University and the renovation of an educational building in Farah.

 “The construction cost of these schools is $ 900,000, which is in Badakhshan and Nuristan provinces,” said Abdul Subhan Rauf, deputy director of administration and finance at the Afghan Ministry of Education.

“These projects should be implemented by the Ministry of Economy as soon as possible,” said Abdul Tawab Balakarzai, Acting Minister of Higher Education.

India’s ambassador to Afghanistan says that the launch of the projects will help increase the capacity of students in Afghanistan adding that apart from physical projects in Afghanistan, India has worked in building capacity of youth in Afghanistan as well.

Since 2005, India has implemented 400 developmental projects in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy, which promises to help Afghanistan in the long run in various areas.

Continue Reading