Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

In 2023, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan trade witnessed an impressive sixfold increase, reaching a substantial $266 million, demonstrating a robust economic partnership despite the challenges posed by the Taliban’s rule.

As reported by the Afghan news agency Tolonews, the Industry and Trade Ministry representative in Kabul disclosed that imports from Uzbekistan during this period amounted to $239 million, with $27 million worth of goods flowing in the opposite direction.

Akhundzada Abdul Salam Jawad, a spokesperson for the ministry, highlighted the specific traded items, noting that Afghanistan predominantly exports dried fruit, fruit juice, apricots, sesame, and carpets to Uzbekistan, while importing electricity, flour, beans, chemical fertilizers, and oil and gas.

This thriving trade dynamic reinforces the strategic plans for a trans-Afghan railroad, connecting Uzbekistan to Pakistan. A protocol outlining the project’s roadmap was signed in Islamabad in July by officials from the three nations. The envisioned route spans from Termez in Uzbekistan through Mazar-i-Sharif and Logar in Afghanistan, culminating at the Kharlachi border crossing in Pakistan.

Uzbek officials estimate that the construction of this railroad could slash transport costs for goods to and from Pakistan by a significant 40%. The project is anticipated to cost approximately $6 billion, with hopes that up to 15 million tons of cargo will traverse the route by 2030.

In the immediate future, plans are underway to upgrade a pre-existing 75-kilometer segment of railway from Khairaton in south Uzbekistan to Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan. This railway, operational since 2011 and maintained by the Uzbek state railway company, is set for enhancements, with officials from both countries agreeing to commence the work at the earliest opportunity.

Beyond infrastructure developments, efforts to facilitate cross-border business operations have gained momentum. In November, trade officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan convened in Islamabad for the inaugural session of the Trilateral Meeting on Trade and Transit. This platform aims to address and mitigate trade barriers, streamline customs procedures, and foster cooperation. Pakistani Commerce Minister Gohar Ejaz hailed the meeting as a “significant step towards enhancing regional connectivity, promoting trade, and fostering cooperation” in the region.

Read More: Dusk News Business

By Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *