Afghanistan joins Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic cross-border transport accord


Afghanistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan have finalised an agreement that will allow Afghanistan to take part in a cross-border transport accord (CBTA) recently ratified by the two Central Asian countries. The CBTA, signed under the framework of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) programme, will ease the movement of goods, vehicles, and people across international borders, said a press statement received here from Asian Development Bank. Vehicles and goods from participating countries will be able to cross designated borders faster, thanks to streamlined customs inspections and reduced requirements to transfer shipments between vehicles. Established in 2001, CAREC brings together Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It promotes the implementation of regional projects in energy, transport, and trade facilitation. Senior officials from the Central Asian neighbours agreed on Afghanistan’s accession to the Cross-Border Transport Agreement (CBTA) at a meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan signed the CBTA in December 2010. To date, member governments, ADB, and other international financial institutions have approved over 100 CAREC-related projects worth about $16 billion. These projects include six land transport corridors that cover 3,600 kilometers of roads and 2,000 kilometers of railway while they traverse the CAREC region north-south and east-west, linking Europe, East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and beyond. Officials from Afghanistan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan will sign a protocol on Afghanistan’s accession to the CBTA at the 10th CAREC Ministerial Conference to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan in November 2011. The CBTA will ultimately connect East Asia and the Arabian Sea through Central Asia, specifically along the route of CAREC Corridor 5.