Trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan will significantly drop by the end of this year due to various hurdles, including “extortion,” transit issues and recent closure of crossing points between the two neighboring countries, according to Afghanistan Chambers Federation (ACF).
The institution has also predicted this year’s Afghanistan-Pakistan trade to be less than $1 billion.
“This year, our trade relations with Pakistan have been affected massively compared to the past,” ACF deputy chief Khan Jan Alokozai said.
According to Alokozai, at least 900 trucks are traveling to Pakistan and from there to Afghanistan daily while it was at least 2,000 last year.
“The trucks that are coming from Pakistan are not searched. Up to 200 vehicles are entering Afghanistan from Pakistan per hour, but when the vehicles unload and go back to Pakistan, it takes up to 40 minutes for them to enter Pakistan due to security procedures (by Pakistani officials),” Alokozai said.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce vowed to address the problems through talks with Pakistani officials.
“There is one road at Torkham crossing through which trucks travel in turns,” said Jawad Dabir, head of public relations of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Pakistan has been a key trade partner for Afghanistan in recent years with an annual trade volume of around $2 billion.
This comes as Pakistan’'s special envoy for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq said in a tweet on Friday that 19,000 multiple entry visas were issued to Afghans in the last five days.
This follows a trip of Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, to Pakistan.
“The new visa regime for Afghan citizens is now enforced. Under this regime long term multiple visas are being issued to all categories of Afghan citizens including visitors, students, businessmen, investors and patients,” Sadiq added.