By: Shukria Kohistani
For the past one month, seven trade ports have been under the Taliban control group. The ports of Islam Qala and Torghandi in Herat, Aqina, Sher Khan port, Abu Nasr Farahi, Spin Boldak and Dand Patan in Paktia are under the Taliban control. The fall of these ports, however, has not affected on increasing prices of commodities in the country.
According to Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), only the price of cooking oil, fuel and gas has increased recently, which has nothing to do with the fall of the ports as there is no gap in trade in the country. The price of goods at these ports is so high as the Taliban seize the same goods from ports at commercial prices before the cargo is carried on the highways. Deputy of the country’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries Khanjan Alokozay has told media that the price of fuel has increased recently because fuel tankers are stopped by the Taliban along highways, saying that the price of cooking oil increased because of the high price of oil in world markets. Khanjan Alokozay has also confirmed that the Taliban are taking the same products from the traders as they used to take on the highways. According to Alokozay, the Taliban collects up to 120,000 AFG from each container of trade goods and once they take the tax at the port, they do not take along the highways. The main reason for the increase in the value of the commodities is not the recent fall of trade ports but the fall in the value of the Afghani currency against the dollar. All businesses of the Afghan traders are with the dollar and when the price goes up, the price goes up automatically. Alokozay said the deteriorating security-political situation has helped increase the value of dollar against Afghani. The country’s Ministry of Finance, meanwhile, says that the government’s customs operations in the border towns are ongoing.
Khanjan Alokozay says that the goods of the traders in the centers of the border cities are taxed by the government. The Ministry of Finance also acknowledges that this has been done. Meanwhile, traders have expressed concern over increasing war in the cities and are warning that if the situation does not improve, trade in Afghanistan will cut down significantly. Despite increasing and fierce fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban in the country, trade activities has not stopped and exports and imports continue as in past. It is worth mentioning that in all Kabul markets, there are enough foodstuff and there is no lack of commodities in the country.