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Uzbekistan to resume direct flights to Afghanistan in January

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(Last Updated On: November 17, 2020)

A presidential decree announced on Monday that Uzbekistan plans to increase two-way trade with Afghanistan to $2 billion by 2023 and resume direct flights between the two countries starting in 2021.

According to media reports, direct flights will be launched in January between Tashkent and Kabul and Tashkent and Mazar-e-Sharif.

In a presidential decree it was stated that Uzbekistan envisages the acceleration of projects on the extension of existing railway and power transmission lines to Afghanistan, and increasing volume of transit goods by simplifying customs procedures on the borders.

Uzbekistan also plans to reduce the prices of key commodities such as cement, iron, liquefied gas, flour, wheat, eggs and vegetable oil exported to Afghanistan.

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Cross-border markets will be up-and-running in February

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2020)

Pakistan said Monday that one of the 12 Joint Border Trade Markets, that is to be established along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, will be launched by February 2021.

In a statement released on Monday, the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul stated that the market would be operational at Shaheedano Dand in Kurram Agency of Pakistan.

“The Joint Border Trade Markets are believed to promote the wellbeing of the people living on both sides of the border, rehabilitate those affected by anti-smuggling drive, economically integrate the neglected areas, formalize bilateral trade and transform local economies of people living across Pak-Afghan border,” Pakistan Embassy in Kabul said in a statement on Monday.

According to the statement, Pakistan has prepared a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of the markets with Afghanistan.

The statement noted that the MoU has covered “all the modalities including the proposed list of items to be traded in these markets and locations where the border markets are to be established, the composition of Border Market Management Committees, which will oversee the smooth working of the markets, the medium of exchange and dispute settlement.”

“Once, formally established, the people friendly initiative of JBTMs of Prime Minister of Pakistan is expected to uplift the economic and social wellbeing of the people living across Pak-Afghan border,” the statement read.

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Fish farming on the rise as 350 new farms launched around the country

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2020)

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) said that 350 fish farms have been set up in 34 provinces this year by the ministry and the private sector.

Khalil Forough, director of fish farming at the Ministry of Agriculture, says that this year the ministry has established a total of 100 fish farms, while another 250 fish farms have been set up by the private sector in different provinces.

The National Horticulture and Livestock Project of the Ministry of Agriculture has built 100 new fish farms, and two poultry farms in Kunar, Balkh, Baghlan, Laghman, Kandahar, Khost and Herat provinces, each with a production capacity of 2.7 to 3 metric tons of fish and each breeding farm has a hatchling capacity of 2.4 million baby fish.

“According to our study, this year the level of fish production has increased by 1,500 tons compared to last year,” said Forough.

According to ministry officials, last year fish production reached about 10,000 metric tons and this year it will reach 11,500 tons.

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Kabul residents face another winter with limited power

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2020)

Officials of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the country’s power distribution company, said on Sunday that Afghanistan will face a lack of electricity because the project to transfer 500 Megawatts of electricity from Uzbekistan has not yet been completed.

According to officials they have however resolved the lack of electricity in industrial parks.

“We demand 760 megawatts at this important time. We offered 450 megawatts of electricity last year, in the current year our offer increased to 480 megawatt,” said Salim Salimi, deputy head of the DABS.

However, officials acknowledged that no basic work has been done in the past 20 years regarding electricity.

On the other hand, officials of the Chamber of Mines and Industries say that they don’t have permanent electricity in the industrial parks.

“The industrial parks need 200 megawatts of electricity, they have provided only 10 feeders to the industrial park. Craftsmen can’t work without electricity in any corner of the world,” said Sakhi Ahmad Paiman, deputy head of the chamber.

“We don’t have regular power in the industrial park yet. If we had power for 12 hours, why we complain?” said Abdul Nasir Reshtia, head of the association of steel factories.

This comes ahead of winter – when Kabul residents struggle to cope due to freezing temperatures and limited power.

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