As Pakistan’s private sector imports Afghan coal to fuel their plants, the government and people of war-hit Afghanistan are in a win-win situation to benefit from the economic activity generated through the bilateral trade.
Currently, three companies from Pakistan are in coal trade with Afghanistan as so far no agreement could reach between the two governments for the trade.
However, as Pakistan and its private sector strive to support their Afghan brethren through revival of the economic activity, the hostile elements are poised to undermine the efforts to serve their vested interest.
Recently, Afghan’s TOLO News reported that all of three Pakistani companies buying trade from Afghanistan were related to Pakistan Army and that they were purchasing the coal at reduced rates.
But factually, the coal imports are undertaken by private companies on both sides having nothing to do with Pakistani government or institutions.
Even, Afghan ministry of petroleum also denied existence of any official contract with the government of Pakistan or any Pakistani organisation regarding the export of Afghan coal.
The Afghan media report is based on misinformation and lacks authenticity as two out of said three companies are privately owned and have no links with the armed forces, an official source said.
Currently, Afghanistan’s coal trade market is one of its biggest revenue resources, which is running an economic cycle benefitting the common Afghans from miners to transporters.
As per Afghan Chambers of Commerce and Investment, the surge in exports of coal caused the rise in the country’s annual revenue. However, any false reporting and narratives are meant only to harm the livelihood of common people.
The impression by Afghan media that Pakistan was robbing Afghanistan of its natural resources is an absolute fantasy because in this entire coal trade Afghanistan is in a win-win situation.
Under the trade, Afghan government is awarding contracts to all Afghan coal businessmen who hire all Afghan labour for coal extraction. The extracted coal is transported through trucks owned by Afghans and the coal-laden trucks pay toll tax and export duty to Afghan government to enter Pakistan.
At the end, Pakistan’s private sector also pays to Afghans to buy the coal.
Pakistan’s power plant is the lone consumer of low-grade Afghan coal and in case Pakistan switch to other less expensive coal sellers; the sole losers will be Afghanistan’s common people, its mining industry and the government.
Therefore, Afghan government and people must not fall prey victim to corrupt politicians who have minted millions and fled abroad and now wants to halt the path to prosperity and development for abandoned Afghans.
Actually, the Afghan people need to understand that those running anti-Pakistan propaganda are the real culprits who had been active since August 2021. As they cannot provide sustenance to Afghan people, so they are involved in propaganda against willing supporter and long time-tested and trusted friend of Afghanistan and its people.
The coal export has helped Taliban government to generate revenue. Reportedly, as of May 27, 2022, officials had collected around 3 billion Afghanis (USD 33.80 million) in customs revenue on more than 16 billion Afghanis worth of coal exports in the last six months.
This economic recovery is threatening for all those who collaborators/ allies who are united against Taliban government.
Due to lack of any functioning international banking channels in Afghanistan, coal exports to Pakistan are a critical source of revenue for Afghan suppliers since they cannot effectively trade with any other country.
Evidently, mutually beneficial coal trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan undermines hostile designs of inimical forces/ elements.
An August 2021 investigation uncovered an illegal mining corruption ring in Afghanistan involving SOS international (SOSi) Virginia company with links to US military and intelligence, according to Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a consortium of investigative centres, media and journalists operating in Eastern Europe.
Ex-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s brother Hashmat is the owner of SOSi subsidiary, Southern Development. SOSi has been operating in Afghanistan essentially as a front for US DoD.
Previous Afghan governments and their collaborators are the real robbers of prosperity and spoilers of peace in Afghanistan.
The inroads made by SOSi and Southern Development into Afghanistan’s mineral processing sector have roots in a 2011 initiative by US special forces to work illegally with members of a pro-government Afghan militia on mining in Kunar province, the OCCRP said.
The recent increase in the prices of coal by Taliban government is also a point of concern which is likely to reduce the coal exports to Pakistan, if preventive measures are not taken. The more is the trade between both the countries, the more are the benefits the troubled Afghan economy can acquire.