Afghanistan urged Pakistan on Tuesday to release thousands of containers of imports it said were stuck at Karachi port since Islamabad clamped down on transnational cargo.
Pakistan authorities say they have lost millions of dollars in taxes because goods are being sent duty-free from its ports to land-locked Afghanistan, and then smuggled back across the border.
Afghan authorities say Pakistan has stopped more than 3,000 Afghanistan-bound containers at Karachi port while demanding more tax and duty payments, causing millions of dollars in losses to traders.
Afghan Transit Trade goods: Excessive documentation causing delay in clearance of containers: PAJCCI
The issue was raised Tuesday by Nooruddin Azizi, Afghanistan’s minister of industry and commerce, in a meeting with Jalil Abbas Jilani, caretaker minister of foreign affairs.
They spoke about “the transit problems and challenges of the two countries” a statement from the Afghan embassy said.
“Hundreds of these containers have been parked since several months, while some have been stopped more than a year. The goods inside are spoiling and the traders are suffering losses,” an official of the Afghan consulate in Peshawar told AFP.
The trade row is one of several thorny issues that have grown between Kabul and Islamabad since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021.
Last month Pakistan ordered hundreds of thousands of illegal Afghan migrants to return home or face being deported.
Pakistan officials said Tuesday more than 300,000 Afghans had voluntarily left since November 1, but Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities insist the majority have been forcibly repatriated.