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Pakistan to import gas from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan: report

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(Last Updated On: December 9, 2022)

The government of Pakistan, facing gas shortage as winter sets in, has worked out a plan to import liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) overland from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, Pakistan Today reported on Thursday.

The customs office in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, after consultations with stakeholders, sent a plan to the Federal Board of Revenue to import LPG across the Chaman border, the paper said, citing sources. The federal government is ready to take the big step of importing LPG from Turkmenistan and will allow entry of tanker trucks, the sources said.

Afghan haulers plan to drive empty Pakistani tanker trucks across the Chaman border to the border with Turkmenistan in Torghuni to fill them with LPG. They will then drive back to Chaman and hand the trucks over to Pakistani haulers, who will deliver the gas to the point of destination in Pakistan, according to the report.

The documents cited by Pakistan Today lay out three plans: immediate, short-term and long-term. Under the first, imports will begin immediately, while the short-term plan will require six to eight months and the long-term plan, which calls for setting up a station to load LPG into Pakistani fuel trucks, will take one year.

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Afghanistan, Pakistan sign draft convention to avoid double taxation

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(Last Updated On: February 4, 2023)

Afghanistan and Pakistan have signed a draft convention to avoid double taxation between the two countries.

The convention was signed after three-day talks concluded in Islamabad on Friday, Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue said in an announcement.

The Afghan delegation was headed by Revenue Legal Services Director Nida Muhammad Seddiqi while FBR’s International Tax Operations DG Sajidullah Siddiqui headed the Pakistani delegation.

The sides thoroughly deliberated over all the outstanding issues identified during the second round of negotiations held in Islamabad from 27th-30th December, 2021.

FBR Chairman Asim Ahmad thanked the Afghan delegation for visiting Pakistan and expressed optimism that the convention will further strengthen economic relations between the two countries.

Pakistan’s special envoy for Afghanistan welcomed the move as “another important step forward.”

“It took us some 12 years to cross this milestone. Investors, contractors and businesses on both sides will benefit significantly,” Mohammad Sadiq said on Twitter.

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Afghanistan accuses Uzbekistan of violating Hairatan port deal

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(Last Updated On: February 3, 2023)

Officials of the Afghanistan Railway Authority (ARA) accuse Uzbekistan Railways of violating the new agreement regarding the technical affairs of the rail link between Hairatan and Mazar-e-Sharif.

ARA’s head Bakht-ur-Rahman Sharaft, in an interview with Ariana News, said that Uzbekistan Railways had agreed that 16 Uzbeks be employed for the management of the rail link, but now it is insisting on employing 65 people.

He said that based on the agreement, Uzbekistan should have handed over the technical affairs to a Kazakh company on February 1, however,, Uzbekistan Railways suspended international freight shipment via Hairatan port.

“The only problem is that we had agreed on 16 technical employees, but they have sent a one-sided contract that mentions 65 employees instead of 16 employees, and the salary of each one is 6,000 dollars. This is a huge amount of money and we cannot afford it,” Sharafat said.

The official emphasized that efforts are underway to solve the problem, and a delegation from Afghanistan is ready to travel to Uzbekistan for this purpose.

He also said that efforts are ongoing for the implementation of trans-Afghan railwy project. Although the implementation of this project by foreign engineers is estimated at around 4.8 billion dollars, but the head of the railway administration emphasizes that the project can be implemented at a cost of 2.8 billion dollars.

“We can do anything,” he said. “There is will, there is transparency, there is commitment of leadership.”

Recently, the Afghanistan Railway Administration signed a two-year contract with Kazakhstan on the Haritaan port, according to which Kazakh employees will carry out technical work in this port.

The Hiraitan Railway stretches 75 km from Hiraitan Port to the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, through which commercial goods from China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are transported to Afghanistan.

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Freight trains to Afghanistan via Hairatan-Mazar-e-Sharif suspended

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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

The Afghanistan Railway Authority has announced that the transportation of goods on the Hairatan-Mazar-e-Sharif railway line from Uzbekistan has been stopped until further notice.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), said the railway line from Uzbekistan has been temporarily closed.

He stated that there is no problem in the technical and operational aspects of the Afghan Railways, and added that there was a shutdown by Uzbekistan.

Calling the closure of this railway line temporary, Mujahid asked traders to be patient and import essential goods using the Akina-Andkhoy railway line.

In explaining the reason for the temporary closure of the Hairatan-Uzbekistan railway line, the Afghan Railway Authority noted that it has been working to transfer management affairs of the line for the past three months. The authority also said a delegation from Afghanistan will meet with officials in Uzbekistan in the next few days to finalize the final memorandum on this matter.

Afghan Railway Authority added: “After signing this memorandum, the process of transfers from Hairitan-Mazar-e-Sharif route will start again and will continue normally.”

The Afghanistan Railway Authority announced last month that as a result of negotiations between the Afghan side and officials from Uzbekistan Railways, the responsibilities of the Hairatan-Mazar-e-Sharif railway line were handed over to Afghanistan by Uzbekistan.

Afghanistan Railway Authority said management of the line had for 11 years been provided by an Uzbek company, Sogdiana Trans.

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