The Taliban has blocked Indian-Afghan transit trade through Pakistan and shut down two crucial trading terminals on the border after seizing power in Afghanistan on Sunday.
“Taliban have sealed the land-border trade route and stopped the movement of cargo on the transit route with Pakistan,” the Economic Times reported on Thursday, citing Ajay Sahai, the director general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).
However, according to the FIEO, the Dubai trade route is still operating.
India is Afghanistan’s largest market in South Asia. Indian exports to Afghanistan in 2021 include pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, computers, cement, apparel, and sugar confectionery, amounting to $825 million. Afghanistan’s main exports are fruits, nuts, and vegetable extracts, totaling $509 million in 2021.
According to Sahai, India hopes the closure is temporary and trade will be restored when the Taliban moves to establish political legitimacy.
Earlier this week, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Suhail Shaheen said India could still complete its infrastructure projects in Afghanistan.
“The Taliban do not mind if India continues to work on its infrastructure and reconstruction projects in Afghanistan because they are for the people,” Shaheen said, as cited by TASS. He warned, however, that the Taliban will not cooperate with any state if it plans “to interfere in the affairs of Afghanistan or use its territory for military purposes.”
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan last Sunday, days before the US was to complete its troop withdrawal from the country. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and senior leadership fled to neighboring countries, while a number of states have been evacuating their citizens and embassy staff.
Before the Taliban took over, India, Turkmenistan, and Pakistan carried out a joint project to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline in Afghanistan to supply the states with Turkmen gas. The countries also worked on the construction of a highway and railroad connecting Afghanistan with the Iranian port of Chabahar, aimed to facilitate the transit of goods through Afghanistan.
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