Islamabad, Kabul agree to ease border crossing

Published January 31, 2022
This image shows NSA Moeed Yusuf (left) and the Pakistani delegation departing from Kabul. — Photo courtesy: Twitter
This image shows NSA Moeed Yusuf (left) and the Pakistani delegation departing from Kabul. — Photo courtesy: Twitter

• Modalities for barter trade initiative to be worked out immediately
• NSA’s two-day visit to Afghanistan concludes
• Both sides refresh commitment to early completion of power, gas, railway projects

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan have decided to establish a national-level coordination mechanism for enhancing facilitation at border crossing points.

The two sides have also pledged to initiate barter trade for which modalities will be worked out soon.

The official announcements were made on Sunday when National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf concluded his two-day visit to Kabul where he met senior Taliban officials.

During his trip, Islamabad and Kabul also refreshed the commitments to cement their diplomatic, social and economic ties and vowed to ensure peace and stability in the two neighbouring countries.

According to the Prime Minister Office (PMO), the main objective of the visit of the security adviser was to discuss with the Afghan leadership the humanitarian requirements and Pakistan’s proposals for strengthening economic engagement to help Afghanistan tackle financial challenges.

For the barter trade initiative, the two sides vowed to work out modalities immediately, an official press release said.

It said during the visit, the NSA who also heads Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC), called on Afghanistan’s acting deputy prime minister Mullah Abdus Salam Hanafi and acting foreign minister Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan and strengthen relations between the two countries.

“The visit yielded substantive outcomes in terms of forward movement on trade facilitation and social sector support,” it said.

Energy, railway projects

“Both sides also reiterated their commitment to early completion of three major connectivity projects CASA-1000, TAPI, and Trans-Afghan Rail project,” the press release said.

Special Envoy for Afghanistan Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq and senior officials from relevant ministries were part of the NSA-led delegation.

Dr Yusuf thanked the interim Afghan government for their warm hospitality. He also held delegation-level meetings with relevant Afghan ministers and senior officials dealing with humanitarian and economic issues.

During the inter-ministerial level visit, Pakistan also offered to Afghanistan capacity building and training support in multiple sectors including health, education, banking, customs, railways and aviation among others.

The two neighbouring countries emphasised their commitment to ensuring peace and stability in both countries.

Earlier on Saturday, Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmed Khan tweeted that the NSA’s meetings in Kabul were meant to “strengthen humanitarian and economic engagement”. He termed the Dr Yusuf’s meeting with the acting foreign minister “constructive” and said the two sides “discussed strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan brotherly relations to promote trade, transit, connectivity”.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2022

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