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Afghanistan and Pakistan agree to enhance bilateral trade ties 



(Last Updated On: July 21, 2022)

Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to enhance bilateral trade relations and the two countries will start cross-border passenger bus services next month.

The Pakistani embassy in Kabul said Wednesday that the two countries have also decided to facilitate issuance of visas, make border crossing points more efficient to ensure early clearance of trade and transit traffic, and address the bottlenecks and impediments on priority basis.

The embassy said that all possible efforts are being made to start a passenger bus service between Peshawar and Jalalabad, and Quetta and Kandahar by the end of next month.

“It was agreed that at the end of August 2022, passenger bus services will be started as a test, initially using two modern and well-equipped buses from both sides. After 15 days, it will increase to 5 buses from each side. After a month, both sides will comprehensively examine the bus services to determine how many buses are needed from each side,” said the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

The two countries agreed to implement a Temporary Admission Document (TAD), allowing free movement of bilateral trade vehicles and preventing loading and unloading of goods at the border crossing points, besides increasing operational timings at all crossing points, particularly Torkham, Kharlachi (Kurram tribal district), Ghulam Khan (North Waziristan) and Chaman/Spin Boldak.

The embassy further said that during the current financial year, bilateral trade and transit has registered growth, adding that this momentum needs to be sustained and further strengthened on a mutually beneficial basis.

The volume of total trade between the two countries in 2021-22 was $1.55 billion. Afghan exports were $834 million, while Pakistan’s exports stood at around $750 million, the Friday times reported. 

According to Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), during the negotiations, the Pakistani side assured that there is no restriction on the export of Afghan goods from all ports, including the route of Wagah port to India and other countries.

“It was agreed that a tripartite meeting between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan on regional connectivity will be held at the appropriate time,” said Zaibullah Mujahid, in a statement to the media. 


Musk says Twitter deal could move ahead with ‘bot’ info



(Last Updated On: August 6, 2022)

Elon Musk said Saturday his planned $44 billion takeover of Twitter should move forward if the company can confirm some details about how it measures whether user accounts are ‘spam bots’ or real people, AP reported Saturday. 

The billionaire and Tesla CEO has been trying to back out of his April agreement to buy the social media company, leading Twitter to sue him last month to complete the acquisition. Musk countersued, accusing Twitter of misleading his team about the true size of its user base and other problems he said amounted to fraud and breach of contract.

Both sides are headed toward an October trial in a Delaware court.

“If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms,” Musk tweeted early Saturday. “However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not.”

Twitter declined comment Saturday. The company has repeatedly disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission an estimate that fewer than 5% of user accounts are fake or spam, with a disclaimer that it could be higher. Musk waived his right to further due diligence when he signed the April merger agreement.

Twitter has argued in court that Musk is deliberately trying to tank the deal because market conditions have deteriorated and the acquisition no longer serves his interests. In a court filing Thursday, it describes his counterclaims as an imagined story “contradicted by the evidence and common sense.”

“Musk invents representations Twitter never made and then tries to wield, selectively, the extensive confidential data Twitter provided him to conjure a breach of those purported representations,” company attorneys wrote.

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Fresh fruits exports from Afghanistan increase this year: ACCI



(Last Updated On: August 5, 2022)

Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce & Investment (ACCI) said Friday that fresh fruits exports have increased from the country abroad.

According to ACCI, the export of fresh fruits have increased significantly compared to previous years, and most of these fruits are exported to Pakistan, India and some other neighboring countries of Afghanistan.

ACCI members have added that if the export process continues in the same way, gardeners and traders can export fresh seasonal fruits regularly.

According to the members of this chamber, Pakistan has recently provided more facilities for Afghanistan’s exports.

However, producers and exporters of fresh fruit in the country said that compared to last year, melon products have decreased by 50 percent, adding that there is little consideration for the expenses and efforts of farmers for the price at which their products are sold, and there is a need for better marketing for their products.

Meanwhile, traders said that due to recent droughts and natural disasters, the harvest of fresh fruit has decreased.

On the other hand, the decrease in the price of Pakistani currency has caused traders to face many problems in trading goods with this country.

Economic experts said that the government should find different markets for the country’s fresh fruit exports.

According to them, in order to prevent the spoilage of farmers’ and gardeners’ products, cold storages should be set up in the country.

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HRW urges governments, IEA to reach agreement on banking issues



(Last Updated On: August 5, 2022)

Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis cannot be effectively addressed unless the United States and other governments ease restrictions on the country’s banking sector to facilitate legitimate economic activity and humanitarian aid,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Thursday.

It said that the US air strike killing the al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri should not derail ongoing discussions between the US and Afghanistan to urgently reach an agreement allowing ordinary Afghans to engage in legitimate commercial activity.

“Afghanistan’s intensifying hunger and health crisis is urgent and at its root a banking crisis,” said John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Regardless of the Taliban’s (IEA) status or credibility with outside governments, international economic restrictions are still driving the country’s catastrophe and hurting the Afghan people.”

Despite actions by the US and others to license banking transactions with Afghan entities, Afghanistan’s central bank remains unable to access its foreign currency reserves or process or receive most international transactions. As a result, the country continues to suffer from a major liquidity crisis and lack of banknotes, HRW noted.

Businesses, humanitarian groups, and private banks continue to report extensive restrictions on their operational capacities. At the same time, because outside donors have severely cut funding to support Afghanistan health, education, and other essential sectors, millions of Afghans have lost their incomes, according to HRW.

Overall, more than 90 percent of Afghans have been suffering from some form of food insecurity since last August, skipping meals or whole days of eating and engaging in extreme coping mechanisms to pay for food, including sending children to work, HRW said.

“Importers are struggling to pay for goods, humanitarian groups are facing problems with basic operations, and the Afghan diaspora can’t send enough money to their relatives and friends,” Sifton said. “Millions of hungry Afghans are experiencing the abysmal reality of seeing food at the market but being unable to purchase it.”

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