On June 22, 2020, Harakat, in partnership with USAID, officially started to disinfect vehicles and cargos in the Spin Boldak border, carrying export and import commodities between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Harakat has deployed a skillful crew with modern disinfection machines in the borderline. This project is essential for Afghanistan’s and Pakistan’s transit through the COVID-19 outbreak. The first phase of this project was inaugurated on June 14, 2020 in the Torkham border post.
To commence the second phase of this project, Harakat held an inauguration ceremony in Spin Boldak border, Kandahar, as well. Harakat invited representatives from the business community, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI), Kandahar Chamber of Commerce and Investment (KCCI), Kandahar Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock, and government officials.
At his opening remarks, Noor Alam Hakimyar, Harakat’s CEO, talked about the objectives and the different phases of this joint project. He said that Harakat, in this difficult time, is elated to lead a crucial project, which benefits Afghan traders and curbs COVID-19 in two borders. He reminded everyone of Pakistan officials’ previous criticism that there is lack of an appropriate system to disinfect vehicle in Afghanistan’s border. He continued that, “In response to this concern, Harakat and USAID started this joint standard disinfecting process, which will continue for three months.” Mr. Hakimyar also expressed that Harakat will strive to pave the way for long-term bilateral trade cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan with the goal to create trade balance and trade benefits for both countries.
In the inauguration event, Mr. Nasurllah Zaheer, Chairman of KCCI, expressed that, “This is a promising occasion as we, yet again, resume our exports to Pakistan and to simultaneously see the disinfecting process in the borders as well.” He also requested for Pakistan, “to not integrate politics with trade.”
Haji Ziauddin Aschakzai, the representative of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment, thanked Harakat and USAID for launching this project. “The border was closed for months while Afghan traders were impacted and paid the price. Therefore, considering the negative repercussions of border closures, we should always try to resolve our trade dispute with Pakistan through negotiations,” he reminded the guests, who also included government officials.
Sayed Ali, head of Spin Boldak district, stated that, “The disinfecting of cargo in Afghanistan’s borders was always used as a pretext by Pakistan for the trade commodities to have come to a halt, however, by starting this process and bringing modern disinfecting machinery we prevent Pakistan’s future allegation.”
Niyaz Mohammad, head of Kandahar’s Industrial Parks, said, “Harakat’s and USAID’s initiative will help keep the borders open for exports and imports, which is a great news for Afghan businesses.”
Atiqullah Muslim, head of Kandahar Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock, concurred with the rest of the speakers and shared his excitement by reiterating that “the disinfection process is a huge step for enabling Afghan traders to export their products again.”