Islamabad, Feb 4: The Afghan border authorities have stopped over 200 Pakistani containers carrying food items to Turkmenistan and other Central Asian states under transit trade from entering Afghanistan via southwestern Pakistani city of Chaman.
Pakistani border authorities said that Afghan security forces also retuned a number of containers which had entered Vesh, the first border town on the Pakistan-Afghan border.
“Over 200 containers loaded with fruits, vegetables and poultry are stranded at the Pakistan-Afghan border,” Dawn newspaper on Monday quoted officials as saying. They said the Afghan border authorities had suddenly started stopping the containers without giving any reason or informing Pakistani officials.
When the Chaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) approached the Afghan authorities, they said they took the decision after Pakistani customs officials had stopped hundreds of Afghan transit trade containers loaded with goods in Karachi and refused to clear them.
“We will not allow the Pakistani containers to move to Turkmenistan and other Central Asian states unless our containers are given clearance,” CCCI President Daru Khan Achakzai quoted the Afghan officials as saying.
According to sources, the authorities in Islamabad have contacted officials in Kabul to resolve the matter as early as possible because the containers are carrying perishable items which will get damaged in a few days.
“The government should immediately step in to resolve the issue because exporters will suffer losses of billions of rupees if the Afghan authorities do not allow the containers to continue the onward journey,” Daro Khan said.
Haji Ghuos Allah, an exporter, suggested that if Kabul failed to resolve the issue the Pakistan government should not allow Afghan trade with India through the Wagah border.
Chaman is one of the two border crossings being used for Afghan Transit Trade and supplying goods to NATO troops in Afghanistan. The other border town at Torkham in northwestern Pakistan.