Senior officials of Pakistan and Afghanistan will meet at the Torkham border to discuss issues for smooth flows of trade and pedestrians, largely part of a scheme aimed at enhancing bilateral ties with the landlocked country. A high-level Pakistani delegation, led by Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood and comprising senior bureaucrats from relevant departments, will meet its Afghan counterpart. National Security Advisor Moeed Yousuf will also accompany the Pakistani delegation. Since Taliban took over Afghanistan, Islamabad has offered Kabul waivers of duty and taxes on fresh and dry fruits, vegetables and several other products. As per official information, the delegation will witness the cross-border movement of pedestrians and vehicles at Torkham border. Huge facilitation in truck movements is expected to increase bilateral trade especially imports from Afghanistan. The Peshawar-Jalalabad motorway concept was given a go-ahead in October 2016. However, the National Highway Authority has not made any progress on this core strategic project.
The total length of the motorway is 281 kilometres which includes the Peshawar-Torkham (50km) and Torkham-Jalalabad (76km) stretches. On January 22, Pakistan allowed the export of another 14 items to Afghanistan in rupees via land routes owing to the non-availability of tradable currency through banking channels. It is expected that the export of 14 products will help to revive exports to Afghanistan which fell to the lowest level since the Taliban takeover followed by Western countries’ sanctions on Kabul.