Afghan president bans Pakistani trucks from entering Afghanistan

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has issued a decree banning Pakistani trucks from entering the country via the Torkham and Spin Boldak border crossings, ToloNews reported.

The Afghan Transport Ministry confirmed the move on Sunday, saying that trucks would only be allowed up to the border crossings, at which point the trucks will have to offload their goods and transfer them to Afghan trucks, according to ToloNews.

“The Afghanistan and Pakistan Trade Agreement (APTA) has expired. Before this Pakistan did not allow Afghan trucks to enter its territory. So we [will] 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.

It is believed that Ghani’s decree will provide a greater number of job opportunities for truckers and transit companies. “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,” said Abdul Rauf, the head of a transport company.

The Afghan Transport Ministry said Kabul would sign transit agreements with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan soon, on the basis of which Afghan trucks would be allowed to enter the three countries, ToloNews reported.