Cross-border movement to be regulated: Taliban to cut transit trade list
ISLAMABAD, May 16: Afghanistan on Tuesday agreed in principle to Pakistan's proposal to regulate the movement of people across the borders to check smuggling, drug trade, gun running, carjacking and escape of fugitives.
The agreement came during a meeting held here between Pakistan Interior Minister Lt Gen Moinuddin Haider and Afghanistan Interior Minister Mullah Abdul Razzaq Akhund. The two ministers were assisted by the officials of their respective ministries.
Secretary interior Mr Hasan Raza Pasha told Dawn that Pakistan told the Taliban leader that the free movement across the borders needed to be regulated. He said Pakistan also proposed the introduction of Rahdari system like the one currently in operation between certain points in Balochistan on Pakistan-Iran borders.
The Afghan minister, who arrived here on Sunday on a five-day visit, Mr Pasha said, agreed upon the need to regulate the invalid movement across the borders but sought time to discuss the issue to come up with Afghanistan's own proposal to meet Islamabad's concerns.
On the request of Islamabad, Kabul also agreed to remove 30 items from the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA) list but, at the same time, declined to include over a dozen items in the negative list.
The items which the Afghan minister agreed to remove from ATTA include all types of vehicles, cigarette, paper and filet rods, VCR/VCP, chewing gum, toilet accessories, video cassette, cosmetics, face powder, juicers, blenders/mixers, food processors, baby pampers, tiles, televisions, air conditioners, dinner sets, kitchen items, etc.
The items, which the Taliban are refusing to remove from the ATTA list include telephone sets, bicycles and spare parts, tape recorders, bulbs and tube-lights, sewing machines, tools, footwear, gas heaters, sugar, black tea and razor blades.
SMUGGLING: A press release issued later said the government of Afghanistan had agreed to co-operate in elimination of smuggling on Pakistan-Afghan borders. It said the Afghan delegation also agreed to tighten security on the borders to check illegal movement of people.
It said Mr Moinuddin Haider told the Afghan team that Pakistan had brotherly relations with them and wanted to improve upon them.
He said that Pakistani trade and industry was facing some problems, because a huge quantity of goods purchased by Afghan businessmen were illegally finding their way into the Pakistani markets.
The Afghan interior minister stated that they had concrete proposals to address the problems highlighted by Pakistan with respect to ATTA which they would like to discuss with the experts.
It was decided that the details would be discussed in a separate meeting with the minister and officials of Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday evening.
The talks would continue on Wednesday to discuss the rest of the agenda.
INTEGRITY: Afghanistan Interior Minister Mullah Abdul Razzaq Akhund on Tuesday also held talks with Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar, writes Hasan Akhtar.
During the talks the Pakistani minister reiterated full support for the territorial integrity of Afghanistan, and reaffirmed that Islamabad attached "highest importance" to its relations with Afghanistan.
An official statement released after the meeting said that Mr Sattar reaffirmed that "Pakistan's policy towards Afghanistan was one of strict non-interference and support for the efforts of the Afghan government and the UN for facilitating the restoration of durable peace in that country through dialogue and reconciliation among the Afghan groups".
During the talks, the two ministers covered the entire range of bilateral matters as well as regional and international issues of common interest, the statement added.
The issues arising from the continued presence in Afghanistan of Osama bin Laden, a millionaire Saudi fugitive wanted by the United States and Saudi Arabia on terrorism charges, also came up during the discussions.
Mullah Razzaq Akhund was accompanied by Mullah Abdul Jalil, Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, and Mr Saeed Ahmad Haqqani, the Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, during his talks with Pakistani ministers. On Pakistani side were Foreign Office's Additional Secretary Iftikhar Murshed and Pakistan Ambassador to Afghanistan Aziz Khan.
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