Woes of KP’s trading community
As it usually happens in such cases, the effects of the change in Kabul are now being felt. The supply of goods to Afghanistan has suffered a delay. These goods are being sent by the exporters from KP and other provinces. All banks, currency exchange markets and business centres are closed in major Afghan cities, including Kabul. Transactions through banks and other informal channels have stopped. The exporters find it difficult to deliver consignments already booked for Afghanistan. For the looming fear of losses, they are not ready to take fresh orders. The traders have yet to make contact with their clients. The Afghan buyers have either gone into hiding or are unwilling to accept new consignments despite advance payments. Newspapers have carried pictures of the huge trucks loaded with expensive merchandise stranded at the Torkham border. The overstressed drivers are waiting for permission to enter Afghanistan. The traders complain that trade to Afghanistan had taken a nosedive. At the Torkham border crossing point, the customs clearing agents and traders offer their comments. They say that the second half of August has almost gone into uncertainty. Random appointments of ministers are being made. But no formal government is being formed. This prolonged delay is causing the present decline in Pak-Afghan trade. Observers note that Pakistan and China have emerged as the biggest players in the new great game in Afghanistan. Everyone appears to be waiting for a green signal from the major stakeholders. US President Joe Biden says that the withdrawal of American soldiers will be complete by August 31. However, the evacuation of the US embassy staff will continue as long as the last American is there.