Torkham border closure: Afghan traders incur $10m losses daily
KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghan traders daily incur losses running into millions as a result of the tension at Torkham border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said on Thursday.
ACCI spokesman Seyamuddin Pasarlai told Pajhwok Afghan News shops and storage facilities on both sides of the Torkham border remained shut since the border was closed five days ago. He said the border closure had brought to a halt activities of trade companies.
Afghan and Pakistani forces started fire exchanges on Sunday and intermittent clashes continued for at least three days, causing casualties on both sides. The clashes erupted after Afghan forces prevented the Pakistanis from constructing a gate at the border crossing.
However, the two sides announced a ceasefire on Wednesday after talks between Afghan and Pakistani officials and security forces on both sides of the border waved white flags.
Pasarlai said thousands of trucks loaded with food and non-food items belonging to Afghan traders remained stranded across the border in Pakistan. Most of the good had decayed and each container daily cost $100, he said.
He said Afghan traders imported most of their goods via Karachi sea port and the closure of Torkham border crossing had prevented their goods from entering Afghanistan.
“The prices inside Afghanistan have increased by 25 to 30 percent. Even daily-use commodities do not reach remote parts because the commodities are slowly decreasing as Afghanistan largely depends on imports. If our imports stopped for a single day, we run out of commodities and we also don’t have enough storage facilities to preserve already imported goods.”
“So if we calculate the losses, they reach nearly $10 million on a daily basis,” he said, adding that businessmen were trying to withdraw their investment from Torkham as they feared if the tension escalated, their factories and go-downs would be destroyed.
The ACCI official urged Afghan traders to think about imports and exports from other countries and if they continued their trade with Pakistan, it was possible they might incur huge losses.
He said 60 percent of Afghanistan’s imports arrived via Torkham and each year the two countries traded goods worth $2.5 billion and each day from 1,500 to 2,000 vehicles crossed the Torkham border.
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