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Pakistan, Afghanistan agree to set up mechanism for border crossing points

30 Jan, 2022
National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf meets Pakistan Ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan as he departs from Afghanistan. Photo: Twitter.com/@ambmansoorkhan
National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf meets Pakistan Ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan as he departs from Afghanistan. Photo: Twitter.com/@ambmansoorkhan
National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf-led delegation during a meeting with Afghanistan's Acting Foreign Minister Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi in Kabul. Photo via Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf-led delegation during a meeting with Afghanistan's Acting Foreign Minister Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi in Kabul. Photo via Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Pakistan and the interim government of Afghanistan have agreed to establish a National Level Coordination Mechanism for enhancing facilitation at border crossing points as National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf-led delegation completed its two-day trip to the war-torn country.

“The objective of the visit was to discuss with Afghan leadership the humanitarian requirements of the country and Pakistan’s proposals for deepening economic engagement to overcome the current challenges Afghanistan is facing,” read a statement issued by the information ministry.

NSA Yusuf on Saturday arrived at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul as part of his engagements with the interim leadership. He was welcomed by Acting Afghanistan Minister for Commerce and Industry Nooruddin Azizi upon his arrival at the airport. Senior officials, including Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq, were also part of the team.

During the two-day visit, the NSA called on Afghanistan’s Acting Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdus Salam Hanafi and the Acting Foreign Minister Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi to discuss the prevailing situation in Afghanistan and strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

Yusuf, who also heads Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell, also held delegation-level meetings with other relevant Afghan ministers and senior officials dealing with humanitarian and economic issues.

“The visit yielded substantive outcomes in terms of forwarding movement on trade facilitation and social sector support. Both sides agreed to establish a National Level Coordination Mechanism for enhancing facilitation at Border Crossing Points. They also agreed to initiate barter trade, modalities for which will be worked out immediately,” read the statement.

During the visit, Pakistan also offered Afghanistan capacity building and training support in multiple sectors including health, education, banking, customs, railways and aviation, among others. Both sides, the statement added also reiterated their commitment to early completion of the three major connectivity projects, CASA-1000, TAPI, and Trans-Afghan Rail project. “Afghanistan and Pakistan emphasised their commitment to ensuring peace and stability in both countries.”

Yusuf thanked the interim Afghan government for their warm hospitality.

“NSA Moeed Yusuf and the accompanying inter-ministerial delegation depart Kabul after a productive visit,” Pakistan Ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan in a tweet.

The envoy added that the bilateral interaction during the visit focused on increasing facilitation in humanitarian engagement, trade, transit and people to people contacts.

Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq also shared the development in a tweet.

According to a statement issued by the Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday, the NSA expressed the government’s commitment to cooperation while considering both the countries’ economic potential. “We would work together to strengthen that view,” he said.

“The government is ready to co-operate on the Chaman and Torkham routes to facilitate transit and inbound and outbound arrivals,” it quoted the NSA as saying, adding that Afghanistan’s [Acting] Foreign Minister [Amir Khan Muttaqi] thanked the NSA for cooperation. “He assured cooperation and called for facilitating the movement of people, patients and traders on both sides of the line,” it read.

The acting Afghanistan foreign minister, it read, said that the interim government had opened trade routes with Uzbekistan-Tajikistan and Turkmenistan for transit and expected the NSA to facilitate Afghan traders.

“During the meeting, it was agreed to set up a joint committee of the two sides with a view to enhancing trade, resolving future barriers to trade and promoting trade,” it added.

The delegation had also visited the Jinnah Hospital in Kabul, which was built by Pakistan. The team saw its facilities and prevailing operations. “The Director [of] Jinnah Hospital apprised about challenges due to the financial situation. Pakistan side reiterated its continued support to the hospital,” the ambassador said in another tweet.

On the first day of the visit, the NSA had a “productive meeting” with Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. He had also called on Afghan Acting Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdus Salam Hanafi. “He discussed strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan brotherly relations to promote trade, transit, connectivity. Afghan Deputy PM hosted lunch for Pak delegation,” it read.

Yusuf was earlier scheduled to travel to Kabul on January 18 for a two-day visit but the trip was delayed because of bad weather, according to media reports, adding that the NSA is steering the Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell to channel Pakistan’s humanitarian and economic assistance to Afghanistan.