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New era of ties, hundreds of Afghans daily travel to Uzbekistan

New era of ties, hundreds of Afghans daily travel to Uzbekistan

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Nov 11, 2018 - 19:18

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Hundreds of Afghans daily travel to neighbouring Uzbekistan after relations between the two countries recently improved, officials, traders and political activists in northern Balkh province say.

After the national unity government’s coming into power, a new phase of relations between Afghanistaninfo-icon and central Asia was opened and Uzbekistan has an important economic and cultural role in these relations.

Uzbekistan is located north of Afghanistan and is connected with Balkh province through Hairatan Port. Commercial trade between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan is main reason of strengthened relations between the two countries.

Nasir Ahmad Qasemi, head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in Baklh province, told Pajhwok Afghan News that relations between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan strengthened with the establishment of the national unity government and a new government in the neighbouring country.

He said Uzbekistan kept its borders open for Afghan traders and has simplified visa issuance process compared to the past.

“Our traders import a lot amount of goods through Uzbekistan, they also export domestic products to Uzbekistan, the trade also led to strengthening of political and cultural relations between the two countries,” he said.

He said Afghanistan had been facing a lot of problems in transit trade area with Uzbekistan in the past as the neighbour country would not issue credentials to Afghan companies, but the problem has now been completely resolved.

“In the past, Afghan traders would load their export goods in cargo trucks inside Uzbekistan after passing them through Amo River, but now they load the goods inside Afghanistan before being exported to that country,” Qasemi added.

He said Uzbekistan played an important role in facilitating trade from Afghanistan with Russia and China.

Afghan officials earlier had said they would open a consulate in Termez City of Uzbekistan for further developing relations with that country.

Qasemi said relations between the two countries would further improve with the opening of Afghanistan consulate in Termez City.

An Afghan trader, Haji Khairuddin Mayel, said close relations between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan were good for economic development of both the countries.

He said his business improved after relations strengthened between the two neighbours and he could easily export or import goods.

Uzbekistan also facilitated Afghanistan improving its commercial relations with Kazakhstan, China and Russia, he added.

He said more efforts were needed to further strengthen relations between the two countries.

Cultural commonalities between the two countries also played an important role in developing relations with each other, he said.

Balkh information and culture director, Saleh Mohammad Khaliq, told Pajhwok Afghan News that Afghanistan and Uzbekistan enjoyed similar culture, which he said was a reason of good relations between the two countries.

He said cultural relations between the two neighbours further improved after President Ashraf Ghani’s trip to this country and signing of 20 agreements there.

Presidential delegations and ordinary people also travel to each other’s country for attending national ceremonies and music programs, he said.

Uzbekistan is also called a good neighbour of Afghanistan when it comes to politics.

Zabihullah Ehsas, a political analyst and head of Balkh Literature and Social Movement in Balkh, said Uzbekistan supported state-to-state relations with Afghanistan.

He said Uzbekistan had a good will and emphasize on the Afghan peace process, something he seen behind good relations between the two countries.

Close cultural and economic relations directly impacted Afghanistan’s stability, he added.

“Despite some anti-government political parties and figures tried to become close to Uzbekistan and damage Uzbekistan’s trust in the Afghan government, but the neighbouring country has repeatedly rejected such attempts and supported state-to-state relations instead,” he said.

Sabawoon, a resident of capital Kabulinfo-icon, said he received Uzbekistan visa very easily to travel to that country few months back.

He said he travelled through land from Balkh province and visited several areas of that country.

Balkh governor’s spokesman, Munir Farhad said relations between the two countries improved after signing of some agreements of cooperation.

He said hundreds of tourists, traders and investors visited Uzbekistan trough the shared border without any serious problems.

mds/ma

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