Afghan situation ‘challenge’ for Central Asian trade


Pakistan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said that the “political situation coupled with the threat of terrorism poses a challenge” to economic and trade relations of Pakistan with Central Asian nations.khar made the remarks at a one-day international conference on Pakistan’s Strategic Frontiers via a video link, organised by the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI).

“Afghanistan offers immense opportunities in terms of realization of Pakistan’s vision to becoming a trade and energy connectivity hub and integration of South, Central, and Western Asia regions. However, the current political situation coupled with the threat of terrorism poses a challenge for the countries around the same region,” she said.

This comes as the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) said that Afghanistan has an important role in terms connecting Central and South Asia.

“When the Islamic Emirate swept into power, the policy was to connect Central Asia with South Asia. The first gates are Pakistan and Afghanistan, and also Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. There have been contracts about this as well,” said Khanjan Alokozai, a member of the ACCI.

“We export some commodities as barter, so there is no negative impact, but there are some commodities which we export to Pakistan and we sell it with Pakistan rupees. Which has some negative impact,” said Naqibullah Sapai, head of the joint Chamber of Afghanistan-Pakistan.

This comes as some of the economists believe that the use of Pakistan rupees (Kaldar) in trade with Pakistan has impacted Afghan trade.

“Our exports are mainly to Pakistan. When they are unable to purchase the commodities, the certain exports that we export to Pakistan will be hampered. The loss of value of Kaldar (Pakistani rupees) affects the loss that our people made in Kaldar,” said Azeraksh Hafizi, an economist.

Afghanistan exported more than $1 billion worth of commodities in 1401 (solar) year. Nearly $744 million has been exported to Pakistan.

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