AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has said Afghanistan would no longer depend on Pakistani seaport fir its transit trade with India and other countries after opening the strategic Iranian Chabahar port. Chabahar Port is located in Sistan—Baluchistan province of Iran, lies outside the Persian Gulf which can easily be accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan.
The Chabahar port has the potential to ramp up Afghanistan’s bilateral trade with India and Iran in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to India for trade with Afghanistan and Iran. The New Delhi has been engaged with Kabul to create alternative and reliable access routes, bypassing Islamabad.
“Afghanistan used to rely only on one transit road, which was through Karachi. That is not the case anymore. Now it is also through Chabahar,” Abdullah said.
According to the tripartite agreement between Afghanistan, India and Iran, signed last year, India has to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port phase-1 with capital investment of $85.12 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a ten-year lease. Afghanistan is also moving forward to have trade routes with Central Asia that would connect Kabul with Europe.
Addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a top US thank-tank, Dr. Abdullah said, “There are one or two agreements that we will be signing with neighboring countries, including Uzbekistan, hopefully in a few days which will help transit.”
Dr. Abdullah warmly welcome the new US strategy on South Asia, adding, post the new US strategy, he is more optimistic than before that Afghanistan would succeed and will overcome all the challenges ahead. He added all the anti-government armed groups will be forced to come to the negotiating table. The Chief Executive emphasized on all the countries in the region to consider that terrorism is a common enemy for all of them.
“If there is one lesson in the past two decades that is these terrorist groups have not served and will not serve the real interest of any country or state,” he noted. “At the end of the day, they have their own interests which are in destruction and terror and violence, he added.
Abdullah further went on saying that majority of Afghanistan people are keen to see durable peace and stability in the country.
Acknowledging challenges ahead of them, he said there are still terrorist groups who believe that they could win by plotting terrorism and violence.
“They receive support and they have sanctuaries. That remains to be a big challenge for us,” he said.
“But I have no doubt in my mind that there will be conditions and circumstances that more and more groups will be convinced that they need to join the peaceful process rather to continue an endless war,” he claimed.