Taliban minister raises issue of Afghan refugees’ property, trade with Islamabad

Afghan Acting Commerce Minister Haji Nooruddin Azizi meets Acting Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani in Islamabad on November 14, 2023.  - Facebook/arabnewspk
Afghan Acting Commerce Minister Haji Nooruddin Azizi meets Acting Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani in Islamabad on November 14, 2023. – Facebook/arabnewspk
  • Afghan minister discussed the issues in the meeting with FM Jilani.
  • Kabul also urged for the release of import containers stuck at Karachi port.
  • The minister will meet representatives of Pakistan, Uzbekistan.

ISLAMABAD: The Taliban government urged Pakistan to allow Afghan citizens to take their cash and other assets back to their homeland. news Reported on Wednesday.

According to the Afghan Embassy, ​​Industry and Commerce Minister Nooruddin Azizi met Acting Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani in Islamabad to discuss the issue of business and property owned by Afghan nationals in Pakistan.

The visit came less than a week after Pakistan said its move to expel millions of undocumented Afghans came as part of a crackdown on Taliban-led militants using Afghanistan to carry out attacks in Pakistan. It was a reaction of the administration’s reluctance.

Taliban officials say terrorism is Pakistan’s internal matter and have called on Islamabad to stop deportations of Afghan civilians.

“The bilateral trade, especially the stranded goods of (Afghanistan) traders in Karachi port, smooth transfer of assets of (Afghanistan) refugees to (Afghanistan) and related issues,” the Afghanistan Embassy in Islamabad said in a statement at the meeting. “Discussed.”

Afghan nationals being repatriated have complained about restrictions on transferring properties and cash owned by them in Pakistan to Afghanistan.

Kabul urged to drop containers at Karachi port

Azizi also urged Pakistan to release thousands of containers of imports that were stuck at Karachi port after Islamabad imposed a ban on international cargo.

Pakistani officials say they have lost millions of dollars in taxes because goods from its ports are being shipped duty-free to Afghanistan, and then smuggled back across the border.

Afghan officials say Pakistan has blocked more than 3,000 Afghanistan-bound containers at the port of Karachi, demanding payment of higher taxes and duties, causing millions of dollars in losses to traders.

The goods include high-end electronics, machine parts, chemicals and textiles, which attract heavy tariffs when imported into Pakistan. Pakistani officials say the volume of these goods being sent to Afghanistan has increased in the last two years and is unrealistic considering the size of the market there.

“Hundreds of these containers have been standing for the last several months, while some have been stopped for more than a year. The goods inside are getting spoiled and traders are suffering losses,” said an official at the Afghan Consulate in Peshawar. AFP,

The trade dispute is one of several thorny issues between Kabul and Islamabad since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office said Jilani conveyed the message that: “The full potential of regional trade and connectivity can be harnessed with collective action against terrorism.”

The Foreign Office said the Taliban’s acting commerce minister will also hold a trilateral meeting with representatives of Pakistan and Uzbekistan on Tuesday.

The agenda of the trilateral meeting was unclear, but the three countries are working on plans for trade transit and railway connections between South and Central Asia that would pass through Afghanistan.

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