Afghan-Tajik trade declines after rise in Taliban activity

Staff Report

DUSHANBE -- Tajik truck drivers are refusing to use the highway between the Afghan-Tajik border and Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, after recent Taliban atrocities on the highway, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)'s Tajik service reported June 14, quoting Afghan and Tajik observers.

Tajik drivers were particularly shocked by the Taliban's massacre of more than a dozen bus and van passengers whom they took hostage on the highway May 31.

The refusal of Tajiks to drive on the endangered highway has led to a collapse in Tajik-Afghan trade on that route, RFE/RL reported.

The volume of cargo travelling via Afghanistan to Tajikistan has fallen by 60% within the past three months, Shahobiddin Bobar, the chief of the Kunduz customs post in Afghanistan, told RFE/RL June 14. "Three months ago, up to 50 trucks a day would enter Tajikistan from Afghanistan," he said. "Now it's fallen to 15 to 17 trucks a day."

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