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Three Afghan-Pakistan borders set to reopen for trade

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(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.

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Turkmen FM in Kabul to discuss bilateral cooperation

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(Last Updated On: January 8, 2021)

Turkmenistan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Raşit Meredow arrived in Kabul on Friday to discuss issues around bilateral cooperation with the Afghan officials.

In a statement released on Friday, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign stated that the Turkmen official received by Mirwais Nab, Deputy Minister Foreign Minister for Political Affairs at the Kabul’s Hamid Karzai Airport.

According to the statement, Meredow will meet with President Ashraf Ghani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar, and NSA Hamdullah Mohib to discuss cooperation agreements between the two countries.

The Turkmen official expected to discuss the inauguration of Akina to Andkhui Railway line project, Electrical Energy Project from Kerki – Andkhoi – Puli Khumri; and the Fiber Optic Cable line extending internet connection from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan.

Meadow would also sign several Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the Afghan officials, including an MoU on Political Consultation, an MoU on Agriculture Quarantine, an MoU on Security and Protocol, and an MoU on issues related to Gas and Oil, the statement concluded.

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Afghan, Iran local officials sign trade agreement

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(Last Updated On: January 8, 2021)

Iranian media reported that two provinces of Afghanistan and Iran on Thursday signed an agreement covering the energy, transportation, customs, production, and investment sectors.

The agreement signed during the fourth meeting of the Joint Economic Committee of Khorasan Razavi Province and Herat Province of Afghanistan said IRNA.

Iranian officials said that four working groups on customs and trade, transportation and transit, energy and fuel, and a production and investment working group held meetings to review issues of priority for the parties which led to the signing of an agreement.

Ali Rasoulian, deputy governor of Khorasan Razavi Province added that both sides agreed to facilitate the exchange of goods in the Dogarun border and ease investment and improve interactions so that healthier and better exchanges could be carried out at a lower cost in the Dogarun border.

Based on the agreements, the working hours of the border crossing will be increased, and a committee will meet on a monthly basis at the Dogarun border to review the existing obstacles and problems, he added.

The two sides also agreed to have financial exchanges with better and easier planning, he said, noting that power transmission lines from Khorasan Razavi to Afghanistan will also increase from 132 KV to 500 KV, which will benefit both parties.

Mouneseh Hassanzadeh, Herat deputy governor-general for social affairs, said that the agreement covering four fields.

Negotiations at the 4th meeting of the Joint Economic Summit of Khorasan Razavi and Herat were aimed at improving bilateral relations, growing economic relations, and creating investment opportunities, she said.

Notable that 4th meeting of the Joint Economic Summit of Khorasan Razavi and Herat was held from January 7-8 in Mashhad.

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Turkmen FM to attend launch of key projects in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 6, 2021)

The Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Turkmenistan’s Foreign Minister is scheduled to visit Kabul next week to attend the inauguration of three joint projects.

In a statement issued by MoFA, officials said the Afghan foreign minister, Haneef Atmar, on Tuesday held a telephonic conversation with Turkmenistan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Raşit Meredow to discuss issues around bilateral relations.

“In addition to discussing the forthcoming visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan to Kabul during which he will meet H.E. President Ashraf Ghani, H.E. Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar and National Security Advisor Dr. Hamdullah Mohib, the two sides talked about the opening ceremonies of three projects due to be inaugurated on the 14th of January 2021,” the statement read.

According to the statement, projects of the Railway line from Akina to Andkhui, Electrical Energy Project from Kerki – Andkhoi – Puli khumri; and the Fiber Optic Cable line extending internet connection from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan would be inaugurated.

The Turkmen official would also sign several Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the Afghan officials, including an MoU on Political Consultation, an MoU on Agriculture Quarantine, an MoU on Security and Protocol, and an MoU on issues related to Gas and Oil, the ministry’s statement read.

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