Afghan traders warn of halting Pak trucksBy Abdul Qadir Siddiqui Dec 31, 2011 - 14:48
KABUL (PAN): Traders on Saturday warned of a tit-for-tat response to the restrictions slapped by Pakistan on Afghan trucks in the neighbouring country.
About 700 trucks of Afghan traders have been stranded over the past month on the Pakistani side of the border. Pakistani authorities suspect the vehicles may be transferring goods for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Islamabad closed a key supply route for NATO-led troops and ordered the United States to vacate the Shamsi airbase in Balochistan province in the wake of an ISAF air raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in the Mohmand tribal region on November 26.
The 700 trucks contained merchandise, mostly chicken meat and eggs, worth $100 million (49,240,000 afghanis), the deputy chairman of the Afghan Chicken Importers’ Association said.
Ahmad Shah told Pajhwok Afghan News they had to pay $25,000 in taxes to the Pakistan government on a daily basis. Nearly 20 traders were in Kabul to urge President Karzai to find a solution to their problem, he said.
"If our problem isn't resolved, we will halt Pakistani vehicles as a mark of protest," Shah said.
Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) deputy head, Khan Jan Alokozay, asked officials to resolve the problem.
He some Afghan traders had also gathered in front of the ACCI compound, demanding an end to their plight. "We are trying to meet Karzai to share the issue with him."
He accused the Ministry of Commerce and Industries of ignoring the traders' problems, who were suffering losses as a result of the Pakistani decision.