Afghanistan; shortest route between Central Asia & west

By: Lailuma Noori

18 October coincides with National Day for Transportation and Transit in Afghanistan. After the Second World War in 1948, an agreement was signed in Geneva between eight countries such as Belgium, Denmark, France, Holland, Norway, Sweden, UK and Swiss for providing better facilities in international trade.
Currently, 68 countries of the world have membership of transit and 57 other countries are benefiting the system.
Afghanistan got membership of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1983. On the other hand, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries has the permanent membership of the World Road Transportation System. The country has been operating the system since 18 October 2010.
By implementation of this system in Afghanistan, Afghan traders can then export their goods to other countries without any search. The transit license gives authorization to the member countries to directly transit or export goods to other countries of the world.
Transport is playing vital role in economic development of Afghanistan as it is the country located in heart of Asia and has not route to the ocean. Therefore, ground and air transport are considered as the only way to transit or export goods to other countries of the world. Currently, there are many routes both ground and air for transportation and transit of Afghan goods to regional and world countries. For example, Silk Route is considered as the most significant highways and roads in Central Asia, connecting East Asia with West and Indian Ocean with Central Asia. Therefore, Afghanistan has particular geopolitical position and transportation and transit can play vital role in improving economic life of the country. Chabahar Port is another route for Afghanistan to export and import goods. The port is considered as a very good alternative from the point of exports and imports. According to Afghan economists and relevant government officials, making use of the Chabahar port can be good for Afghanistan to make its economic and trade relations with regional and world countries as the port is considered as a good alternative comparing to Karachi and Wagah ports of Pakistan.
Lapis Lazuli while preventing from dependency to Pakistan markets is considered as a good route for Afghan goods to be exported to other regional and world countries particularly EU member countries. Afghanistan government has declared that it is the shortest route for Afghan traders to export Afghan products and goods to other countries. Afghanistan will get millions in dollar benefits each year from transportation and transit if conducted via the Lapis Lazuli route.
It is worth mentioning that for expansion of trade and improvement of transportation situation in Afghanistan, it is necessary that a range of steps should be taken such as attraction of trust of regional and world countries, maintaining of better security along highways, fighting corruption in government institutions and other steps which can pave the way for other countries to pay their attention to transportation issue and working with Afghanistan in connection with transportation and transit.

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