Business and Trading at Chaman Border
August 30, 2021
Trade in Balochistan has not deteriorated in any way since the closure of border with Afghanistan, particularly in Chaman, where the Taliban have taken control of Spin Boldak, an Afghan trading town adjacent to Chaman. As their trucks gathered in Chaman and Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, there was increasing uncertainty, and the traders suffered losses. Chaman is a devastating commercial city that gained power of Afghan trade in the late 1970s. It is now the second-largest trade border with Afghanistan after Torkham, a commercial town in KP.
During the time of turmoil when the war between the Afghan Taliban and Afghan security forces was continuous, traders continued to send off trucks to export items, including fresh items. According to the businessmen, they were heavily taxed on their way to Kabul: once by the Afghan Taliban and then by Afghan security forces. According to a local trader, they were often taxed three times before reaching Kabul, causing them to lose a massive amount of money.
Quetta Chamber of Commerce leader Badruddin Kakar was pleased with the current flow of trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan. “After some ebbs and flows, the trade has returned to normal after the Afghan Taliban’s complete capture of Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan. There are no more sanctions with Afghanistan,” he told Dawn after describing the intermittent completion of the Chaman border with Afghanistan. “As a result of the tariffs imposed, traders have suffered , particularly in essential commodities.”
Chaman is located in the northern district of Killa Abdullah in Balochistan. According to the 2017 census, the total population of district Killa Abdullah is 757,578. Due to the state’s growing population, the Balochistan government has recently established two new districts, dividing Killa Abdullah. And the town adjoining Chaman, due to its distinct identity as the province’s trade route, would include Chaman city and tehsil Saddar Chaman. The distance between Quetta and Chaman is more than 120 kilometers. Trucks ready to travel to Chaman have also arrived in the provincial capital over the last week.
We have four trucks parked in the Quetta area and we will definitely improve Afghanistan for export,” said an unnamed officer of a multinational company in Quetta. However, due to repeated border closures with Afghanistan, the trucks were unable to continue their journey. “It’s the cost of doing business with Afghanistan,” he explained.
Mr Badruddin Kakar believes that hundreds of trucks have filled up at the Badini border point on the other side of the Afghan border, a new runway for trade reopened by the provincial government of Balochistan for trade in the province of Killa Saifullah district. He explained “Such improvements limit trade with Afghanistan”.
At the time of writing, there has been a significant increase in cargo and ordinary traffic crossing the Chaman border. According to Chaman’s business and customs officials, the Afghan Taliban has not yet imposed any sanctions on trade. According to Dawn, Pakistan’s exports to Chaman border highly prized at Rs2.21 billion in June at Chaman border, while imports prized at Rs1.084 billion. According to local traders in Chaman, the Afghan transport system is still operational with more than 100 cargo vehicles departing every day for eight hours, while transport entrance is accessible.
According to news reports, the number of Afghan refugees who fled Afghanistan might have increased. According to one report, this has risen to 18,000 a day since the Afghan Taliban’s invaded, previously exceeding 4,000 a day through the Chaman border. Likewise, after the opening of Chaman border, the rush increased as many vehicles were already stuck in traffic.
Haji Jalat Khan Achakzai is the local president of the Chaman Chamber of Commerce’s. Considering the aforementioned trade developments around the Chaman border in recent weeks, he has come up with a troubling outlook for the local business community of Chaman and Balochistan in general. According to him, the Chaman trade has been transferred to Torkham in KPK, due to progress. Mr Achakzai told Dawn, “On regular days, we used to export 150 to 200 carts with fruits and vegetables”.