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Kazakhstan Delivers Humanitarian Aid to Afghan People

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Kazakhstan delivered humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan on April 15 during the visit of Minister of Trade and Integration Serik Zhumangarin (pictured) to Kabul, reported the Prime Minister’s press service, writes Aida Haidar in Central AsiaEditor’s PicksInternational.

The main humanitarian aid, with a total volume of 5,403 tonnes, arrived by rail, consisting of food products, including canned milk, vegetable oil, flour, and buckwheat. The Kazakh delegation brought the boxes of medicines with them on the plane. 

Zhumangarin said the delivery of humanitarian aid follows the instructions of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

“It is symbolic that our humanitarian mission takes place during the holy month of Ramadan, and during this blessed time for all Muslims, allow me to wish peace and tranquility to everyone,” Zhumangarin said.

The minister emphasized that Kazakhstan is one of the few countries that maintains a diplomatic presence in Kabul and wishes to see Afghanistan as a stable and prosperous country with peaceful relations with its neighbors. 

Kazakh trade house will be established in Afghanistan. Photo credit: Prime Minister’s press service.

“We intend to continue working to strengthen trade and economic relations, including through humanitarian assistance. Kazakhstan has a $174 million export potential to Afghanistan in food, petrochemical, chemical, metallurgical, light, machine-building, construction, and other industries. I believe including these goods in bilateral trade will benefit both countries,” he said. 

During his visit, Zhumangarin met with Acting Minister of Trade and Industry of Afghanistan Nuriddin Azizi, Acting Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Ghani Baradar, Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, and Acting Minister of Communications and Telecommunications Najibullah Haqqani. 

The Zhumangarin-led delegation also took part in a Kazakh-Afghan business forum in Kabul, with 18 Kazakh food industry exporters participating. The businesses signed a $4 million agreement to supply flour to Afghanistan.

The delegation also announced the establishment of a Kazakh trade house in Afghanistan, with the main office in Herat. Its main goal is to promote and intensify bilateral relations in trade and economics, telecommunications, transportation, and logistics, use Afghanistan’s transit and border potential for trade with other countries in the region, as well as attract investment in Kazakhstan’s economy. 

A $4 million agreement to supply flour to Afghanistan was signed by businesses during Kazakh-Afghan business forum in Kabul. Photo credit: Prime Minister’s press service.

A consulting center will be established based on exported domestic goods and services, trade legislation, marketing research, analysis of development prospects and problematic issues, and developing recommendations for Kazakh and Afghan business circles. 

The bilateral trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Afghanistan was $987.9 million in 2022, which is 2.1 times higher than the previous year ($474.3 million). Kazakh exports to Afghanistan climbed by 2.1 times in 2022, totaling $978.9 million. Afghan imports to Kazakhstan increased by 82.6 percent in 2022, totaling $9.1 million.

Kazakh-Afghan trade in January-February 2023 reached $282.6 million, 94.6 percent more than the previous year ($145.2 million). The country’s exports to Afghanistan surged 95 percent in January-February 2023, totaling $281.5 million. Imports from Afghanistan to Kazakhstan climbed by 28.3 percent in January-February 2023, reaching $1.1 million.

Kazakhstan has continuously provided aid to the people of Afghanistan. In September 2021, President Tokayev said Afghanistan should become a stable, sovereign, and united state, living in peace with itself and its neighbors. 

“We are ready to establish productive business contacts with the new authorities, first and foremost, to alleviate the serious humanitarian difficulties that this country has faced for a long time,” said Tokayev. 

Last August, Kazakhstan donated close to 20 tonnes of commodities in grains and 60,000 liters of oil as well as 200 tents, 2,000 beds, mattresses, sheets, blankets, 2,000 coats and pants, and 2,000 sets of bowls, cups, and silverware to help Afghan people who suffered due to environmental disaster from earthquakes and flash floods. Over 1,000 people were killed, and tens of thousands were left homeless after a 5.9-magnitude quake struck the Paktika province on June 22. 

This contribution was one of the largest ever provided by Kazakhstan to assist Afghanistan as part of the United Nations World Food Program (UNWFP). 

The UN reiterates the world’s largest humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Afghanistan. More than 28 million people in the country are starving and need urgent assistance, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov said.

Following the visit, officials of the Taliban, included in the list of ​​prohibited foreign organizations in Kazakhstan, said they asked the Kazakh officials to accredit new Afghan diplomats in the country on their behalf. Commenting on the news during an April 17 briefing in Astana, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Aibek Smadiyarov said Kazakhstan made a positive decision in response to the accreditation request from the interim administration of Afghanistan. 

“I would like to clarify the issue. A power vacuum has been created with the collapse of the previous government of Afghanistan in August 2021. The embassies of Afghanistan abroad ceased to represent the state. This is a quite complex issue but not a unique one. History knows many examples of a power change in states that raises the question of the legitimacy of the new authorities,” Smadiyarov said.

He added the missions representing the Taliban already operate in Uzbekistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan, Russia, China, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.

Source: EU Reporter

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