Taliban, Pakistan make progress in trade and transit talks in Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban and Pakistan have reached several agreements aimed at enhancing trade relations, following discussions in Kabul. These agreements include initiating negotiations on a revised Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) and implementing a temporary admission document for trade vehicle drivers.

During the two-day talks, both parties emphasized the importance of separating business from politics, considering mutual interests, and fostering unobstructed trade and transit relations, a Taliban statement revealed.

The discussions also led to a consensus on finalizing the revised APTTA within two months and facilitating the transfer of goods from international to regional containers in Karachi’s ports over the next six months.

An accord was reached to grant tariff preferences to 10 export items, with eight being agricultural and two industrial. Additionally, a temporary free license for truck traffic was agreed upon for a one-year trial period starting May 2024.

The statement further detailed an agreement on multi-modal air transit through the countries’ airports, set to commence in the next two months.

In efforts to improve Afghanistan’s transit goods process, Pakistan agreed to eliminate the mandatory bank guarantee within a week, reverting to previous insurance practices. Both parties committed to addressing other trade barriers.

Moreover, the agreement included moving away from barter trade towards establishing banking relationships and discussed the export of Afghan coal to Pakistan at international prices. The statement also mentioned that Pakistan acknowledged the sufficiency of disinfecting export cotton in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani delegation, led by Deputy Commerce Minister Mohammad Khurram Agha, participated in the talks amid recent tensions, including Pakistani airstrikes on Afghan territory, which the Taliban claims resulted in eight civilian casualties.