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Smuggling of Iranian goods via Melak continues unabated

Smuggling of Iranian goods via Melak continues unabated

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On
Apr 23, 2019 - 15:38

FARAH CITY (Pajhwok): The smuggling of different goods from Iran into Afghanistaninfo-icon via the Melak crossing continues unabated, despite the presence of security forces in the area, Pajhwok Afghan News has reliably learnt.

Melak is situated close to the border with Iran in western Farah province. The Shaikh Abu Nasar dry port is the official trade hub between Iran and Afghanistan in Farah.

Well-placed sources revealed to Pajhwok Afghan News that some goods and services entered Afghanistan from Iran without any custom duty through the Melak crossing.

Sher Khan, a truck driver who bought trade goods from Melak to Farah City, said around 20 truckloads of steel, glass, cement, marble, ceramics and food items were smuggled into Afghanistan from the neighbouring country.

He charged empty trucks entered Iran and after being loaded there with goods returned to Afghanistan illegally on the watch of security forces. No security checkpoints exist on the highway because many areas are under the control of security forces.

Drivers unlawfully transferred goods from Melak via indirect routes to Farah City and had not yet faced any hurdle from authorities, sources disclosed.

Najibullah, another driver, endorsed Sher Khan’s view. Trade items entered Melak without any hindrance, he said, adding: “Owners of goods deal with security forces and drivers get their fares for transferring the items to Farah City.”

Smuggling spawns confusion

A businessman, who wished to go unnamed, said: “Smuggling via Malek has been a source of confusion. A man named Haji takes 100,000 to 280,000 afghanis from every vehicle and security forces in the area are also given money.”

Dadullah Qane, a Provincial Council member, confirmed the illegal transfer of trade items via Melak and alleged local authorities had failed to stop the smuggling.

He said despite the fact that the import of four types of goods had been allowed from Iran through Abu Nasar Port, the smuggling continued unabated via Melak in the presence of security forces.

He complained the smuggling had caused losses of 10 million afghanis in terms of taxes and duties evaded. He was unaware whose pockets were lined by the money thus earned.

Khan Zaman Amarkhel, head of the Farah Custom Department, admitted the illegal entry of goods via Malek. The Custom Department has no presence in Melakm which is not a formal port.

He explained stopping the smuggling through Malek was not their duty. However, the authorities concerned in Kabulinfo-icon have been informed of the unlawful practice. He said the smuggling had surged in the past one and a half month.

Governor Mohammad Shoiab Sabet also acknowledged the smuggling of some goods via Melak. Steps had been taken to stop the practice, he claimed, promising the individuals involved in smuggling would be brought to justice soon.

He said a number of letters had been dispatched to the 207th Zafar Military Corps regarding smuggling but no action had been taken so far.

The governor argued his road travel to Melak was not possible due to insecurity, while military did not facilitate his visit to the border area.

Pajhwok tied to reach Syed Gul Zia, spokesman for the Zafar Military Corps of the Afghan National Army, but he did not respond to telephone calls despite multiple attempts.

nh/mud

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