Pakistan allows passage of Indian wheat to Afghanistan

Islamabad, Nov 13 (EFE).- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan assured Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi that his government will allow the transport of wheat to Afghanistan offered by India as humanitarian aid, diplomatic sources told EFE Saturday.

“The assurance was given to the Afghan Foreign Minister during his meeting with the Prime Minister yesterday,” the diplomat told EFE on condition of anonymity.

Muttaqi concluded Friday his first official visit to Pakistan since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan on Aug.15.

During his stay in Islamabad he had interactions with Khan and his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The Prime Minister’s office said in a statement that Khan conveyed to the Afghan government that they would “favorably consider” the request for wheat transport through Pakistan presented by India.

According to the statement, transport could be permitted through Pakistan on an exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes.

“Imran Khan has promised to provide significant facilities in transit of Afghan commercial goods through Pakistan,” Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi tweeted after the conclusion of Muttaqi’s visit.

“Wheat provided by India will be allowed to be transported to Afghanistan through Wagah port,” he added.

Last month, India, the main wheat supplier for Afghanistan, offered the shipment of 50,000 metric tons of wheat as aid, but have been looking for ways to ship it.

During the so-called “Troika Plus” meeting in Islamabad earlier this week, which included China, Russia, and the United States, the Pakistan government too pledged to send food and other essential items to Afghanistan in response to the humanitarian crisis in the country.

Under the 2010 Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement, exports from Afghanistan to India are permitted across the Wagah border, but Indian exports to Afghanistan through Pakistani territory are prohibited.

After the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in August, international agencies have frozen its international funds and access to the financial system, further complicating the country’s economic and humanitarian crisis.

According to a recent UN report, nearly 23 million Afghans, representing more than half of its population, face one of the worst food crises in the world, aggravated by conflict and international isolation.

The report revealed that currently more than one in two Afghans are facing acute food crisis, a situation that could be worse than that of Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, or Yemen. EFE


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