Mansoor Ahmad Khan, ambassador of Pakistan to Afghanistan, on Sunday evening at a ceremony in eastern Nangarhar province said Kabul-Islamabad relationships have entered a new chapter and called for expansion of trade between the two countries.
He said the past wars not only had bad consequences for Afghanistan but also for Pakistan. Now Pakistan wants to have good trade relations with Afghanistan, he said.
“We recognized the challenges in commuting between the two countries as well as challenges in trade. These challenges were because of the presence and wrong policies of foreign troops who were present for 50 years in the region. But I think now the time has come to put an end to the challenges and take practical steps,” he said.
Khan said his country wants to provide more facilities to Afghan citizens who are traveling to Pakistan as well as to Afghan traders. “Officials from Afghanistan’s Public Works Ministry and Pakistan’s Railway Ministry have had contacts with each other. They have worked on a plan to construct Turkham-Jalalabad and in the south Chaman-Kandahar railways and this railway will connect Pakistan to Afghanistan and Afghanistan to Uzbekistan,” he added.
Meanwhile, a number of traders urged Pakistan to address the challenges the Afghan traders are facing while crossing between the two countries. “I think daily around 200 to 250 traders travel between the two countries and if a separate route is made for them, the volume of trade will increase,” Toor Malang, head of Nangarhar Chamber of Investment said.
A number of tribal elders present at the ceremony called for the problems at Torkham and Spin Boldak crossings to be resolved. Spin Boldak crossing was closed on Thursday after the breakout of a fight between Islamic Emirate and Pakistani forces. “It is a shame for us and for all the Muslims that a mother had to deliver her baby on the way because of problems at the crossing,” said Lala Agha Kakar, a tribal elder.
In the clashes between the two sides on Thursday, three civilians were killed and a dozen others were wounded. The crossing was reopened on Sunday.