In a first-of-its-kind trading transaction uniting the four nations, an Indian private merchant has exported commercial products to landlocked Uzbekistan via Pakistan and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
A spokeswoman for the Taliban’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce said trucks carrying 140 tones of merchandise, largely Indian sugar, left Kabul on Wednesday for Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital.
The package landed in the Afghan capital a day earlier, according to Maulana Zaheer, via the Torkham border crossing between the two nations. The ministry held a special ceremony to assist the movement of Indian commodities, describing it as a significant step toward transforming Afghanistan into a major commerce hub for Central and South Asia.
The commercial shipment originated in Mumbai, India, and was trucked to its Uzbek importer earlier this month, thanks to a recently signed bilateral transit trade deal between Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
During his two-day official visit to Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, in early March, Uzbek President Shaukat Mirziyoyev signed the agreement, as well as many other papers.
The Pakistani official stressed that the Indian commercial shipment going for Uzbekistan was a privately planned transaction under the agreement, with no involvement from any of the four nations’ governments.
“It will now become a routine practice, and Uzbekistan will be able to import commodities from anywhere through Pakistani seaports,” said the official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
The Taliban authorities are obligated to promote commerce since Uzbekistan, like landlocked Afghanistan, has access to Pakistani ports for international trade, according to the official.
Under a long-standing bilateral agreement known as the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Commerce Agreement, Islamabad permits Kabul to utilize its ports, land and air channels to do trade with other nations (APTTA).
Afghan businessmen can export their commodities to India using Pakistani land, air, and sea channels under the APTTA, but they can only purchase Indian goods through seaports due to tense relations between Islamabad and New Delhi.
Pakistan, on the other hand, recently agreed to let India use its land borders to deliver 50,000 tones of wheat that New Delhi had sent to Afghanistan as humanitarian aid, where millions of people are starving.