Taliban Halts All Trade Between India and Afghanistan

By Valentina Horlander*

Kabul. Sunday, August 15th, 2021, the Taliban successfully seized the Afghanistan capitol city, Kabul. Since then, forces have guarded trade routes going into and out of Pakistan. The trade routes are operated mostly by cargo shippers from India. Since then, all imports and exports from India have ceased to continue under the Taliban’s control.

For hundreds of years, India has been a major trade partner to Afghanistan. In 2011, they signed a trade agreement that enhanced bilateral trade between the two countries, with India investing billions of dollars into Afghanistan.

They have helped the Afghani people with building infrastructure (schools, roads), human resource development, and enhancing trade. In the year 2021, it is estimated that the value of exports to Afghanistan is 835 million dollars.

Dr. Ajay Sahai

India exports sugar, medicine, spices, clothing, and tea through Pakistan into Afghanistan, while importing dried fruit, carpet and wool from the country.

The import value for 2021 is estimated to be 510 million dollars. Though the Director General of the Federation of Indian Export Organization remains hopeful that trade routes will be reopened, it is unclear what the future of trade relations will be between the two countries. “I’m pretty sure that over a period of time Afghanistan will also realize that economic development is the only way forward and they will continue with that kind of trade.” Says Dr. Ajay Sahai, the Director General.

He hopes with the Taliban regime, they will see India as an ally to trade relations. If the trade halts continue, the Afghanistan economy will see the effects soon.

Prices will skyrocket, leaving citizens hungry. They will have to turn to the Taliban regime for help. Not only will this prove disastrous to the economy, but also it will make the citizens more vulnerable.

*South Asia Analyst