Will close Pak’s transit route to Central Asia if not allowed to trade with India: Afghanistan

Days before he arrives in New Delhi for an official visit, President Ashraf Ghani on Friday warned he would close Pakistan’s transit route to Central Asia if his country’s entrepreneurs were not allowed to trade with India via the Wagah border crossing.

The remarks reflected Kabul’s growing frustration with Islamabad after the virtual collapse of a Pakistan-backed process to engage with the Afghan Taliban. Ghani has been angered by Pakistan’s failure to deliver on a commitment to bring the militants to the negotiating table. Ghani, who is scheduled to visit India on September 14, issued the warning during a meeting with Britain’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Owen Jenkins, according to a statement from the presidential palace.

The “tit-for-tat action” was prompted by Pakistan’s persistent refusal to let Afghan traders do business with India through Wagah, he said. Afghanistan is no longer a land-locked country as it has access to multiple transit trade routes, he added. The remark was an apparent reference to the recent pact between India, Pakistan and Iran to develop a transit corridor centred round Chabahar port.