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IEA plans regional energy trade hub with Russian oil in mind

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The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has agreed with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to build a logistics hub in western Afghanistan aimed at making the war-torn nation a major logistics point for regional exports, including oil from Russia to South Asia, the country’s commerce minister said.

Following a meeting between representatives of the three countries in the Afghan capital last week, IEA’s acting commerce minister Nooruddin Azizi told Reuters that technical teams would draw up a written agreement within two months on the formal plans for the hub, which all three countries would invest in after six months of talks.

As foreign aid to Afghanistan falls and the predominantly agricultural economy is marred by persistent drought, its officially unrecognised IEA government has faced questions over how to fund development and avoid economic stagnation, Reuters reported.

Azizi said the new hub was part of broader efforts to take advantage of Afghanistan’s strategic location, once a thoroughfare for the ancient Silk Road trade route, lying between South and Central Asia and sharing borders with China and Iran.

“Based on our discussions, a logistics centre is going to be established in Herat province, which can connect the north to South Asia,” Azizi said, adding that the Taliban (IEA) was eyeing the millions of tons of oil they expected Russia would be selling in coming years to South Asian countries, particularly Pakistan, to pass through the new hub.

“The three countries have done their best to prove Afghanistan’s claim as a connectivity point,” he said.

“Reaching Pakistan through Afghanistan will be the best option,” Azizi added, saying they were focused on Russia’s petroleum exports and that Kazakhstan was also planning to export goods through Herat into South Asian markets.

Kazakhstan’s trade ministry said in a statement to Reuters that it wanted to develop roads and a railway through Afghanistan to connect with South Asia and the Gulf, with the hub serving as an important logistics point.

“The creation of the hub will allow for the development of multi-modal services by consolidating truck shipments in the dry port where they will be sorted and sent along railroads on the North-South corridor to sea ports in the Gulf, Pakistan, and Indian Ocean, towards India,” the statement said.

Azizi said the logistics hub’s initial capacity would be one million tons of oil but he did not give a date for when it would be operational.

Turkmenistan’s government did not immediately respond to a request for comment and the Russian government did not respond to a request for comment during a national holiday.

Pakistan’s foreign office and energy minister did not respond to a request for comment. Pakistan is a major trading partner with Afghanistan and has signed on to regional energy connectivity agreements, Reuters reported.

However, Islamabad has had strained relations with the IEA in recent years over accusations Afghanistan is harbouring anti-Pakistan militants, which Kabul denies.

Cash-strapped Pakistan last year became Russia’s latest customer, snapping up discounted crude that has been banned from European markets due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Afghanistan also buys oil, gas and wheat from Russia at discounted rates.

Azizi said that the IEA was also speaking with Chinese authorities on building a road through the remote, narrow Wakhan corridor that connects Afghanistan with China and that they hoped Afghanistan would eventually develop into a route for trade between China and Iran. He said Afghan commerce ministry officials had been recently been sent to China for training.

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Pakistan blocks 300 trucks carrying fruits and vegetables from Afghanistan

Based on the embassy’s statement, Afghan businessmen’s trucks have been stopped at Torkham, Spin Boldak and Kharlachi crossings due to lack of temporary admission document (TAD).

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Afghanistan’s Embassy in Islamabad announced on Friday that Pakistan has prevented the entry of 300 trucks carrying fruits and vegetables from Afghanistan.

Officials of the Afghan embassy in Islamabad, in a meeting with Maria Kazi, Joint Secretary (Foreign Trade) at Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce, called for allowing the vehicles to unload goods at their final destinations.

Based on the embassy’s statement, Afghan businessmen’s trucks have been stopped at Torkham, Spin Boldak and Kharlachi crossings due to lack of temporary admission document (TAD).

Referring to the export season of Afghanistan’s fresh fruits and vegetables, the delegation of the Afghan embassy also expressed concern over the imposition of higher taxes on Afghanistan’s exports and considered this action to be detrimental to Afghan farmers and Pakistan’s domestic market.

The delegation of the Afghan embassy asked Pakistan to apply exemptions again, considering the past practice, until the preferential trade document between the two countries is finalized.

Meanwhile, Kazi, while expressing agreement about the clearance of the mentioned trucks, assured of expediting the process of issuing the temporary admission document and solving the problems of the Afghan truck drivers.

This comes as Afghan and Pakistani authorities agreed in recent months that truck drivers from both sides will need temporary admission document to travel between the two countries.

 

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Afghan nationals have invested $3 billion in Iran

Siadat has also proposed that to grow the economies of Afghanistan and Iran, support should be provided to Afghan economic activists and their capabilities should be utilized.

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Iranian media, citing Mahmoud Siadat, the head of the Iran-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce, have reported that Afghan citizens have invested about $3 billion in Iran.

According to ISNA, Siadat said this week: “Today, more than 50 percent of foreign companies registered in Iran are Afghan companies.”

He also stated that Afghan nationals are the largest group of foreign investors in Iran.

According to Siadat, private sector organizations in the field of trade with Afghanistan and the joint chamber of the two countries are important and vital for the growth of the economy.

Siadat has also proposed that to grow the economies of Afghanistan and Iran, support should be provided to Afghan economic activists and their capabilities should be utilized.

 

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Iran’s non-oil exports to Afghanistan increases in first three months of 1403

Investing in Afghanistan mines can be profitable for Iranian industry: Qiafeh

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Three-day emerald exhibition held in Panjshir

This was the first expo of its sort in Panjshir and 48 booths showcased emeralds, other precious and semi-precious stones, and other products including carpets and non-alcoholic beverages.

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The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) said Wednesday in a statement that the first three-day emerald expo was held in Panjshir in the hope of boosting exports.

He said the three-day expo was organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in order to boost exports, display handicrafts and local culture, develop livestock farming and agricultural products, medicinal plants, and encourage people to use domestic products and attract investment, a statement read.

This was the first expo of its sort in Panjshir and 48 booths showcased emeralds, other precious and semi-precious stones, and other products including carpets and non-alcoholic beverages.

 

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Forty new emerald deposits found in Panjshir


Panjshir’s emeralds mined and sold legally for the first time: officials

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