Afghanistan retaking its position as trade, transit hub

Seeking to regain its historical position as the regional trade and transit hub, Afghan government has put its weight behind regional connectivity and increased the trade volume between Afghanistan and the regional countries in recent years through launching air corridors, railroads and other major trade and transit routes with neighboring and regional countries.
Indeed, strengthening trade and transit, and enhancing import and export with regional countries will make great contribution to the poverty alleviation in Afghanistan. But insecurity and foreign interferences have been the major challenge before trade and transit as well as development of the war-torn country.
Recently, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that his government has set its eyes on the “huge” Central Asian market as peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan negotiators began in Doha over the weekend after months of delays.
“Pakistan played a huge role [in bringing both parties to the negotiation table]… but if peace prevails, we would have a huge and peaceful market in Central Asia,” he said after Pakistan and China signed an agreement on the development of Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The Pakistani prime minister said that Uzbek leadership has shown interest in developing rail track from Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan to Peshawar and it can trigger a revolution for industrial growth in the country.
His remarks for trade connectivity via Afghanistan and his will for peace in the country is indeed a welcoming move. Pakistan has always been blamed for harboring militants, mainly Taliban and supporting instability in Afghanistan. Delivering such remarks by PM Khan shows that the neighboring country has shifted its policy from supporting militancy to facilitating trade and transit.
Pakistani officials know that continued war and violence in Afghanistan has badly affected their economy and that’s why they see their interest in a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. If they truly stand on their remarks, Afghanistan would soon turn once again as the hub for trade and transit in the region and would help the whole region to economically develop.
In the current globalized world, transportation construction is an essential prerequisite for economic development. A famous proverb says, “If you want to be rich, you must build roads at first”. This saying stresses the significance of transportation and connectivity.
As the “center of Asian crossroads”, Afghanistan should seek to revitalize its historical status through expanding trade and transit with the region and paving the ground for domestic and foreign investment.
Although terrorist networks and their backers seek to isolate Afghanistan and create obstacles before its economic growth through staging intensified attacks, mining its resources illegally, and smuggling its natural reserves, Afghanistan has made considerable strides in terms of trade under President Ghani administration.

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