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    Trades protest at Sher Khan dry port

    KUNDUZ CITY (PAN): Traders and drivers staged a protest against the stoppage of hundreds of vehicles at the Sher Khan dry port in northern Kunduz province, officials said on Tuesday.

    Nearly a hundred businessmen gathered on Monday evening at the dry port, accusing the customs department of keeping stranded over the past 10 days 300 trucks loaded with cement, sugar, kinos, vegetables and fruits.

    While blaming the authorities for hampering their exports to Tajikistan, the traders and drivers complained their vehicles had been barred from entering the neighbouring country despite the fact that they had already paid takes to the government.

    A representative of traders, Haji Raees Khan, told Pajhwok Afghan News the customs department had no reason for stopping the trucks. The department had received customs duty, he said, asking if the shipments had been banned, why traders were taxed.

    However, Customs Director Wakman Shagiwal said the ministries concerned had instructed them not to allow the export of Pakistani products such as cements, Kinos, sugar and potatoes through the port.

    “The wholesale purchase of imported goods in local markets and exporting them to Central Asian countries causes a price hike in the country. As a result, we have stopped the exports,” he said while quoting a letter from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries.

    But Raees said: “We can prove that these items were not bought in local markets. We have documents proving that they have been brought them from Pakistan for exports to Central Asia.”

    A Tajik driver, Daulat Mohammad, said the government charged $150 customs in duty on each vehicle. “Over the past 10 days, we could have travelled four times from Afghanistan to Tajikistan, depriving the government of much-needed revenue.”

    myn/mud