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Monday 3 September 2018

Afghanistan Expects more from Iranian Port of Chahbahar

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KABUL (Pajhwok Afhgan News) — Expanding commercial, economic and political relations with Iran is central to the growth of Afghanistan’s economy, a senior Afghan official says. Dawood Sultanzoy, a presidential advisor and chairman of the Afghan Airfields Economic Development Commission, also underlined the significance of Iran’s Chabahar port for Afghan goods.

IRNA quoted Sultanzoy as saying: “Chabahar is very important for Afghanistan and it is crucial for the country in terms of trade, transit and exporting goods.” During a meeting with Chabahar Free Zone officials, Sultanzoy said Kabul-Tehran economic cooperation was in the interest of the whole region and should be expanded.

Abdol Rahim Kordi, the managing director of Chabahar Free Zone, called the port the best place for Afghanistan’s economic activities due to its strategic location. “Through Chabahar Free Zone, Iran and Afghanistan can double their economic activities,” he told the visiting Afghan delegation, led by the presidential advisor.

Last January, the first shipment of 2,200 tons of Indian wheat has arrived in Kabul through the Chabahar Port. India is making a concerted push into Central Asia by taking charge of a crucial transportation network through Iran into the region and beyond. The Indian project envisages a multi-modal transportation network that connects ports on India’s west coast to Bandar Abbas (بندر عباس) in Iran, then overland to Bandar Anzali (بندر انزلی) port on the Caspian Sea; thence through Rasht (رشت) and Astara (آستارا) on the Azerbaijan border onwards to Kazakhstan, and further onwards towards Russia. Once complete, this would connect Europe and Asia in a unique way — experts estimate the distance could be covered in 25-30 days in what currently takes 45-60 days through the Suez Canal.

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