KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday issued a decree banning Pakistani trucks from crossing into the country, a day before he is expected to visit New Delhi.
The Afghan Transport Ministry said that Pakistani trucks will only be allowed up to the border crossing.
According to the ministry, Pakistani trucks will have to offload their goods and transfer them to Afghan trucks.
Pakistani trucks have until now crossed into Afghanistan at Torkham and Spin Boldak borders and many transport their goods on through the borders into other Central Asian countries.
“The Afghanistan and Pakistan Trade Agreement (APTA) has expired. Before this Pakistan did not allow Afghan trucks to enter its territory. So we do the same and after this Pakistani trucks will be unloaded at borders and Afghan trucks will carry the goods to Hairatan and Shir Khan ports,” Transport Ministry Spokesman Hekmatullah Qawanch said.
“By this move, lots of people will get job opportunities and the transit companies will also get work. Currently, there is no work for transit companies and the drivers are at home,” a director of a transport company Abdul Ghafoor Norzai said.
“Pakistani trucks go to every part of our country, but our trucks are not allowed to enter Pakistan. We want the government to do the same to Pakistan and also help us to be allowed to enter neighbouring countries,” Abdul Rauf, the head of a transport company said.
The ministry also said they will sign transit agreements with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan soon and based on the new agreements, Afghan trucks will be allowed to enter the three countries.
GHANI AND TILLERSON IN NEW DELHI:
Meanwhile, Khaama Press reported that Afghan President Ghani is expected to visit New Delhi on Tuesday, the same day as US Secretary of State Tillerson is scheduled to arrive in the Indian capital.
In his one-day state visit, the president is scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and other Indian officials.
This will be the first visit by the Afghan president and Tillerson to India after the US announced its revised policy in South Asia emphasising on a larger role to be played by India and criticised Pakistan.
However the diplomatic ties between Islamabad and the US took a dramatic turn when Pakistan successfully rescued an American-Canadian couple. The swift action by the Pakistani security forces after information was provided by US intelligence drew instant applause from President Donald Trump.