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300 Afghan loaded trucks stranded at Turkham: Traders

“APTTA benefits Pakistan only. The agreement shall be revised,” says ACCI

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Traders on Sunday criticized the Pakistani government for its discrimination towards Afghan trucks carrying goods through Turkham and asked the Afghan government to take up the issue with Pakistani officials.

The traders said that 300 Afghan trucks carrying goods were stuck at the Turkham dry port which affected the export volume.

The deputy chief of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) Khanjan Alkozai said that the trucks exporting goods were stopped under the pretext of road pass. He asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to summon Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul in order to resolve the problem.

Speaking at a press conference here, he said that 300 Afghan trucks exporting goods were stopped at Turkham in the last one week as police did not allow them to enter Pakistan, asking them for road pass.

Alkozai said that when Pakistan’s Embassy in Kabul was informed, the officials said that Afghan government has not given visa to the staff responsible for issuing road passes. The embassy told the ACCI that road passes could not be issued until the relevant staff received visa.

The deputy chief of ACCI said that this is not for the first time that Afghan traders face such problems but trucks carrying Afghan goods are often stopped at Turkham port under different pretexts, “especially during the export season”.

Pointing to the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), Alkozai said that the agreement was signed between Kabul and Islamabad but still Pakistan is not ready to follow the agreement.

He said that APTTA is benefitting Pakistan only because Afghanistan was not allowed to get advantage of it.

“According to APTTA, Pakistani trucks are allowed to enter into Afghanistan and can go to every province. However, Afghan trucks cannot go to Wagah and Karachi ports without road pass and insurance. Taking road pass and insurance are big challenges for Afghan traders,” he said.

Alkozai said the agreement should be revised as it was not benefitting Afghanistan in the current circumstances.

Fazul Rahman, a trader, said that concerned staff at the Pakistan’ embassy has not received visa in the past one and half months, but the embassy stopped issuing road passes to Afghan trucks in the past week.

The traders warned that if road passes were not issued to Afghan trucks then they would not allow Pakistani trucks at the Turkham to enter.

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