Following weeks of anxiety over transportation ties between the neighboring nations, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi paid his first visit to Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, on Thursday.
The visit follows the closure of the Chaman border crossing, one of the main trade transit points between Afghanistan and Pakistan, for more than two weeks, generating major challenges for trucks and exporters.
Qureshi stated that Pakistan was committed to assisting Afghanistan in preventing its economy from collapsing, and that the two countries had reached an agreement on steps to eliminate border restrictions and improve trade, including on-arrival visas for Afghan business travelers.
He told reporters, “We have taken initiatives that would aid Afghanistan financially.”
Fresh fruit and vegetables from Afghanistan would also be permitted duty-free imports, according to Qureshi, in an effort to aid Afghan fruit producers who have been harmed by the border closures.
Because trucks can’t get through to their markets across the border, farmers near Kandahar have been forced to leave pomegranates and other export produce to rot.