Af-Pak trade resumes as transporters end strike
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Cargo traffic across the Pak-Afghan border has resumed after three days of suspension as transporters from both countries called off their strike against the imposition of ‘land tax’ by the Afghan government.
Hundreds of vehicles, stranded on both sides of the border as Afghan authorities denied them entry without paying the newly imposed tax, started moving to their respective destinations at the end of fruitful negotiations on Sunday.
Afghan and Pakistani transporters ended their three-day strike after Pakistani exporters agreed to pay the new tax at the Torkham border. Representatives of transport unions said exporters were willing to pay the levy, fearing that food items could perish if trucks and containers remained stranded.
Khyber Transporters Union head Haji Azeemullah said many vehicles were loaded with perishable commodities, which were stranded at the border on the Pakistani side for more than 72 hours. After firm guarantees from exporters to pay the tax, the transporters decided to end their strike.
Meanwhile, Afghan Transporters Association chief Haji Qasim Arab also said the Ashraf Ghani administration showed no flexibility in either scrapping the tax or reducing it. Talks on the issue ended on an inconclusive note on Saturday when the Afghan authorities ruled out any concession.
But a delegation of Afghan transporters and traders visited Kabul to hold talks with the officials concerned to rationalize the new tax, he added. Sunday’s negotiations produced a breakthrough, with transporters ending their protest.
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