Officials report a significant increase in imports through the Hairatan border town in the northern province of Balkh, leading to a slight decrease in commodities and goods prices in the country’s markets.
The Afghan railway authority said that imports through the Hairatan-Mazar-e-Sharif railway have increased to 10,000 tons of goods a day from 5,000 tons a day in previous weeks.
“Insecurity in recent months has affected exports through the railway, but imports have increased in recent days,” said Mohammad Farhang, spokesman for the railway authority.
Following the increase of imports in the Hairatan border town, the price of flour and oil in Kabul markets has reduced back to normal, gas and fuel prices are still up.
With the increase in imports in the last four days, the prices of one bag of 49kg of flour and a bottle of 16kg oil in Kabul markets have decreased by 40 Afs ($0.5) and 50 Afs ($0.6).
“A growth has been seen in the volume of imported goods in the wagons since 8th and 9th of this month (a week ago). As a result, the volume of the imported goods has been increased in the markets and the prices have fallen,” said Sayed Farid Kamal Sapai, a private sector representative.
According to the private sector, taxes on the imported goods are being collected from importers twice, resulting in the increase of prices in local markets.
“Both the government and the Taliban are collecting taxes from the importers in the border towns, outside the ports, and on highways. All these expenses are added to the prices of imported goods,” said Khairuddin Mayil, the deputy head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment.
Last month, clashes got closer to a 5-kilometer distance to the Hairatan town on the border with Uzbekistan, decreasing daily imports to 5,000 tons of goods, the lowest level of imports.