Deteriorating Afghan situation may have serious repercussions


ISLAMABAD: The increasingly deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan in wake of US forces withdrawal and the Taliban taking over district after district are expected to have serious repercussions on Pakistan-Afghanistan trade.

Business community, associated with cross-border trade, feared that the bilateral trade which has already suffered a lot could come to a standstill due to the security situation in Afghanistan.

Talking to Business Recorder, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, convenor of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) committee on Pak-Afghan Transit Trade and former senior vice-president of Pak-Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stated after the announcement of withdrawing of troops from Afghanistan, security situation has started complicating in Afghanistan.

After vacation of the Bagram Air base, Taliban are just 70 km away from Kabul, he pointed out.

“This is a very dangerous indication for the time ahead,” Sarhadi said, adding that no doubt, the security implications in Kabul would have direct negative impacts on Pakistan and especially trade relations may come to a halt.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif as well as the incumbent government had announced to increase the bilateral trade volume to US 5 billion dollars.

However, Pak-Afghan trade volume, which was once around $2.5 billion, has now come to around $70 million, he added.

Sarhadi said that due to the existing Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA)-2010, almost 70 percent trade has been shifted to Chahbahar and Bandar Abbas forts and resultantly, negatively hit the trade relations between the two countries.