Afghan banks to operate in Chabahar

Kabul, May 19, IRNA – An Afghan official has said the country’s banks are to open branches in Iran’s Chabahar Port on the coast of the Gulf of Oman to facilitate transfer of money by Afghan merchants working in Iran’s southernmost city which is also an important trade hub.

Speaking to IRNA, Deputy Head of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Khan Jan Alokozay said Afghanistan and India give great significance to Chabahar as it has magnificent impacts on their economic progress in addition to the vital role that can play in solving the two nations political problems.

Chabahar is situated on the Makran Coast of the Sistan and Baluchestan province of Iran and is officially designated as a Free Trade and Industrial Zone by Iran’s government. Due to its free trade zone status, the city has increased in significance in international trade.

Iran plans to use Chabahar for transshipment to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Iran, India and Afghanistan have signed an agreement for promotion of their trade cooperation through Chahbar Port.

Alokozay said after Chabahar’s development projects are accomplished, the port would become a good transit path for Afghanistan and helps it end its compulsory dependence on using Pakistan as a route for its trade activities.

Alokozay added that using Chabahar as Afghanistan’s transit route would lead the country’s trade not to be limited to use the Port of Karachi in Pakistan.

Referring to recent border clashes between Afghanistan and Pakistan on Torkham border, in northwest of Afghanistan, the official said it happened when Pakistan seized a cargo of the Afghan merchants which included meat, fresh fruits and chicken, and this has afflicted huge losses to them.

Completion of Chabar’s development projects would end occurring of similar problems for Afghanistan, said the Afghan official.

The fact that Chabahar is a free trade zone would help Kabul pay fewer costs for industrial and port services compared to those of the Port of Karachi in Pakistan.

Alokozay stressed the need for further cooperation among Afghanistan, Iran, India and other Central Asian states to facilitate completion of Chabahar’s development projects.

Meanwhile, it was reported that Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani is to visit Iran soon to sign a tripartite agreement with Iran and India on the transit development projects in Chabahar Port.

Additionally, Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said on Ma 14 that Iran-India-Afghanistan agreement for using Chabahar Transit route in Makran ports of Iran is finalized and will soon be signed by the three countries.