Afghanistan bans entry of Pak trucks as trade agreement expires

ANI | Updated: Oct 24, 2017 00:14 IST

Kabul [Afghanistan], October 24 (ANI): Afghanistan has banned Pakistani trucks from entering its territory as their trade agreement has expired.

The Transport Ministry on Sunday said that President Ashraf Ghani has issued a decree banning Pakistani trucks from entering Afghanistan.

It further said the trucks would only be allowed up to the border crossing.

According to the Tolo News, the ministry added that the trucks will now have to offload their goods at the border and from there, the Afghan trucks will carry them.

Until now, the Pakistani trucks had the access into other Central Asian countries to transport their goods through Afghan borders.

"The Afghanistan and Pakistan Trade Agreement (APTA) has expired. Before this Pakistan did now allow Afghan trucks to enter its territory. So we do the same and after this, Pakistani trucks will be unloaded at borders and Afghan trucks will carry the goods to Hairatan and Shir Khan ports," transport ministry spokesman Hekmatullah Qawanch said.

A number of transport company officials in Afghanistan have urged the government to implement the decree as soon as possible as Pakistan has already been refusing to allow the Afghan trucks to cross the border, but the Pakistani trucks could come into Afghanistan.

"By this move lots of people will get job opportunities and the transit companies will also get work. Currently, there is no work for transit companies and the drivers are at home," a director of a transport company Abdul Ghafoor Norzai said.

"Pakistani trucks go to every part of our country, but our trucks are not allowed to enter Pakistan. We want the government to do the same to Pakistan and also help us to be allowed to enter neighbouring countries," Abdul Rauf, the head of a transport company, said.

The Afghan ministry also said they would sign transit agreements with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, which would allow Afghan trucks to enter the three countries.

Earlier in September, Ghani had threatened to block Islamabad's trade access to Central Asian States, if New Delhi was not made a partner in the pact.

However, Pakistan categorically rejected the demand voiced by Afghan President that India be made a party to its transit trade pact with Kabul, saying it was not possible given Islamabad's sensitivities on security and other related issues.

The Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) is a bilateral trade agreement between Islamabad and Kabul. It has been negotiated several times.

The treaty was signed in 1950 which gave Afghanistan the right to import duty-free goods through Karachi. (ANI)