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Protesting truckers driving up prices at Kabul’s bazaars

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(Last Updated On: February 17, 2021)

Shopkeepers and Kabul residents on Wednesday raised concerns about the increase in price of basic goods, foodstuff and fuel, which they attribute to protesting truck drivers.

Truck drivers started protesting against the issuance of new permits, which they claim puts them at risk of falling victim to corruption on the part of police. 

In protest against this move, truck drivers have since blocked key highways for other trucks into Kabul. 

This has however had a resounding effect on the price of goods on local markets. 
 
A study by Ariana News found that on Wednesday liquid gas had increased from 48 AFN to 80 AFN per liter. 
 
The price of petrol also went up, from 36 AFN a liter to 47 AFN a liter. A bag of flour meanwhile increased to 2,000 AFN from 1,800 AFN. 
 
Hashmat, one shopkeeper said some highways into Kabul had been closed for 20 days – putting a strain on supplies. He also said government was not doing anything to address the problem.
 
“Government is careless about this; a lot of the goods are destroyed (along transit routes); and prices have increased,” said Hashmat.
 
Traders stated that a continued rise in costs of basic goods will result in an economic crisis in the country. They called for government to resolve the issues urgently.  
 
“Our stock is not enough to last for 10 days. We used to pay 40 Afs a kilo for gas, now we pay 47 Afs,” said Ahmadzai, a trader.
 
“Highways are blocked; if we do not get gas at the bazaar soon, the price will rise to 250 a kilogram soon,” said Moqim, another trader.
 
Officials meanwhile stated that legal action will be taken against those who block highways.
 
“Biased and irresponsible people, who are blocking highways will be referred to the Attorney General’s Office,” said Hekmatullah Qawanch, spokesman for the Ministry of Transport.
 
The Ministry of Interior’s spokesman Tariq Arian meanwhile said drivers have complained that police are demanding bribes from them. 
 
“Some drivers connected to transportation companies claim that police are bribing them,” said Arian.

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MTN receives $35 million offer for Afghanistan operation

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(Last Updated On: August 12, 2022)

South Africa’s MTN Group has received a binding offer for 100% of its shares in MTN Afghanistan for a consideration of approximately $35 million, the company has confirmed.

The identity of the buyer was not disclosed but the operator expects the transaction to be concluded within roughly six months, South African media reports indicated.

The sale will mark the completion of the group’s planned exit from its consolidated Middle East and Central Asia markets following the sale of its business in Yemen and the loss of its Syrian operations last year.

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Muttaqi urges China to help increase Afghan export volume

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(Last Updated On: August 10, 2022)

Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met with Beijing’s visiting special envoy to Kabul on Tuesday and called on China to pave the way for Afghan exports.

During the meeting, held in Kabul, Muttaqi thanked the Chinese government for starting the visa issuance process in Kabul for Afghan traders, calling it beneficial for bilateral trade between the two countries.

China’s envoy Yue Xiaoyong said that he was working on bilateral and multinational relations with Afghanistan, and spoke about the “encouraging news during his recent regional visits,” according to a statement from the Afghan foreign ministry.

Yue also praised the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) for its efforts and achievements, adding that the new Afghan government has been able to fulfill challenging and significant tasks in a short period of time, and that it had managed the natural disasters and cold winter well, the statement said.

The Chinese special envoy said bilateral relations with Afghanistan had progressed significantly, adding that the meetings between the two countries’ foreign ministers depicted deep relations between the two nations.

He also said that in addition to pine nuts, China was considering importing other dried and fresh fruits to help Afghanistan’s economy.

China’s special envoy arrived in Kabul after visiting Turkey, Pakistan and India to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

In Kabul, the envoy also met with Acting Defense Minister Mohammad Yaqub Mujahid, where they discussed the need for bilateral cooperation.

Mujahid told the envoy that Afghanistan would facilitate investment in the country.

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

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(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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