With the fall of Sher Khan Bandar port in Kunduz province to the Taliban, the government loses an average of more than 2.5 million Afghanis (over $ 32,000) a day in income from customs offices, according to government information.
The Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Investment said that the capture of Sher Khan Bandar’s port and customs office by the Taliban has halted operations at the port. The port borders Tajikistan.
The chamber officials say that the closure of the port will increase challenges for merchants in the northern provinces, especially Kunduz.
“There is zero activity, no work is being done as fighting is going on, merchants do not risk going to the port to do business,” stated Shafiqullah Atai, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment.
Sources told TOLOnews that more than 200 vehicles loaded with goods were transported and processed daily through Sher Khan Bandar port for customs clearance, but now this process has completely stopped.
“The Taliban dismissed all employees of the port and said those employees who want to continue working should come after two days and we will rehire them,” said Khaliduddin Hakimi, a member of the Kunduz Provincial Council.
Seyed Masoud, an economic expert, said: “In the near future, we will witness more reduced income as the opposite side has mainly focused on taking control of places that are having economic incomes.”
Meanwhile, other sources told TOLOnews that the Taliban has appointed a new director for the Sher Khan Bandar customs office and they have told merchants to continue proceeding with the customs clearance of goods.
A Taliban spokesman in an audio message said that the group had taken control of the customs office but that the office will be operational soon.
Information obtained from government officials suggests that with the closure of the Sher Khan Bandar’s customs office, an average of more than 2.5 (over $32,000) million Afghanis of revenue is being lost every day.
Rafi Taabeh, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance, said: “In the first six months of the current fiscal year (1400), at least 476 million Afghanis (over 6 million and 102 thousand US dollars) were collected from Sher Khan Bandar port.”
Sher Khan Bandar port in Kunduz and Hairatan in Balkh are key dry ports in the north of Afghanistan and most of the imports from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan come through these two areas.
Experts say that the government and the warring parties should find a way to keep these ports open and operational.