Afghanistan cancels trade meet with Pak, wants to include India

Afghanistan cancels trade meet with Pak, wants to include India

SAM Staff,
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Pakistan officials cite the frequent closing of the Afghan-Pakistan border as the major reason behind the decline in trade. Photo: Reuters

The Afghanistan government has called off a meeting with a Pakistan delegation which deals with the implementation of a transit treaty on trade as the Kabul government wants India to be included in the deal, a report said.

The Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) is a crucial trade body whose responsibility is to ensure smooth implementation of the trade treaty between the two countries.

The agreement was signed in 1950 to allow Afghanistan to import duty-free goods through Karachi and allow it access to Lahore and Karachi harbour.

The intention of the pact was to deny Afghanistan land or sea route to India to export goods.

A report in Pakistan’s Dawn said Afghan officials want India to be “part of the bilateral and trilateral transit trade pact”.

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The Afghan government has begun to realise limitless opportunities in trade potential with India and is now looking to find ways open a space for New Delhi in its future dealings with Pakistan.

However, Pakistan does not want India to be directly included in the deal even though its trade with Afghanistan has fallen significantly in the past two years.

Pakistan officials cite the frequent closing of the Afghan-Pakistan border as the major reason behind the decline in trade, Dawn reported.

However, Reuters yesterday quoted a Pakistan border commander saying that the government intended to create a “Berlin wall-style” border wall to deny militants from entering the country.

“(A border wall) was there in Germany, it is in Mexico. It is all over the world – why not in Afghanistan and Pakistan?” said Col. Muhammad Usman, commander of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps paramilitary force in Chaman.

The move is attributed to the Trump effect – creating border walls to safeguard domestic interests.

Also Read: China wears the mediator’s gown in the Af-Pak  

Pakistan on its part has been trying hard to get Afghanistan on its side, a report in Dawn said on Tuesday that foreign minister Khawaja Asif had told VOA Urdu in Washington that he intends to bring the Taliban and the Afghan government to the negotiating table through the quadrilateral peace process.

The move was once again aimed at isolating India.

The Quadrilateral Cooperation Group comprising of Afghanistan, the United States, China and Pakistan hopes to meet in Muscat, Oman next week to take steps to end the Afghan war.

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