Closure of Afghanistan-Pakistan Border: When Will Islamabad Release 6,000 Containers of Afghan Traders?

Pakistan has closed its borders with Afghanistan for the past two weeks. The move comes as numbers of the coronavirus infection increases in the country.

Pakistani officials on Saturday announced that the country has closed its borders with Afghanistan, Iran and India in recent weeks due to the spread of the coronavirus. But officials at Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) say efforts are underway for reopening of the borders.

Paying illegal monetary soil

Though the ACCI officials have expressed readiness to open the Spin Boldak and Torkham crossings, but the borders between Afghanistan and Pakistan has been closed since Saturday.

On Sunday, the ACCI in a statement called on the Afghan Ministries of Transport and Finance to resolve the problems between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As the ACCI officials downplay the impact of Border Closure insignificant, but on the other side, the Afghan Traders pay 100,000 Dollars for the Pakistani government in fine fees.

“Although the closure of these crossings have no negative impact on the country, but the Pakistani government is illegally charging money on traders because of the blockade of the containers across the border,” Amin Babak, head of ACCI public relations told Reporterly.

Concerns over the shortage of raw materials

As traders are being harmed by the closure of borders, people are also concerned about the shortage of raw materials and rising prices throughout the country.

“We have no concerns about importing raw materials into the country because our northern borders are open from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and trade is running smoothly,” said John Agha Navid, chief of ACCI Publications. “But our biggest concern is the Afghan traders who have stopped their containers at the Pakistani border as every day they have to pay different fines.”

Officials at ACCI continue to note that most of the food comes from the northern borders such as Aqina, Hairatan, and the western border of Islam Qala and Turghandi.

Stopping nearly 8,000 containers of trade supplies

Although Khan Jan al-Kozai, a member of the board of directors of ACCI, says the number of containers stopped at the Pakistani border is 14,000.  But Mr Babak said in his speech that nearly 8,000 containers of Afghan traders had been stopped at the borders of Torkham, Spin Boldak and Karachi.

However, ACCI officials are urging the government leadership to address the matter as soon as possible.

They have also called on the government to abolish and impose customs duties and taxes on wheat importing companies to encourage traders to import wheat. However, food prices are high in the Kabul market now.

Mr Navid has said that food supplies have entered the country from the northern border and are transferring to the cities, but the current rise in prices is due to the concerns and high demand of citizens, although supply is still as high as in the past.

Zackaria Noori contributed reporting.

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