Some Afghan economists said Sunday that the government has realized Pakistan’s dissimulation to reach a final deal on the problems facing the Afghan trade and transit sector, and that with Pakistan’s policies unclear, Kabul is seeking new trade and transit routes in the region particularly with its northern neighbors in a bid to find long-standing settlements to issues facing nation’s economic sector.
Speaking to TOLOnews on Saturday, Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani said that the thaw in economic relations with Turkmenistan will heighten the possibility of implementing major economic projects between the two nations in the near future such as the key project of TAPI, a project aimed to transfer natural gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and onward to India via Afghanistan territory.
“Minister Hakimi and the minister of communication visited Turkmenistan where they inked a number of good agreements particularly on the implementation of TAPI project, we hope that with the implementation of the project, our youths who are seeking jobs get a better job next year,” Ghani said.
Ghani’s remarks come at a time that in recent months, trade and transit ties between Afghanistan and its northern neighbors drastically improved amid a 40 percent drop in trade volume between Kabul and Islamabad in the aftermath of a strained political blame game between two neighbors.
“These talks are quite constructive to us and develops hopes for the private sector. We hope that the coming surveys lay positive impacts on our economy,” Atiqullah Nusrat, chairman of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said.
“Turkmenistan is quite useful to us in the view of our economic location, and it is also a good economic partner to us, majority of our economic projects are linked with Turkmenistan,” economic analyst Alawi Uruzgani said.
Turkmen and Afghan officials have met twice over the past few months in an attempt to increase economic and commercial relations between the two countries including the key TAPI project The recently concluded Regional Economic Cooperation on Afghanistan (RECCA) also discussed a new plan to establish the Lajaward Road which will enable Afghanistan to get access to European markets through land routes.
According to analysts, Afghanistan by maintaining its geo-economic location could be used as a corridor for trade and transit ties between the south Asian and central Asian countries. However, the role of Turkmenistan is critical to implement the project.