Economy

Afghanistan: Historic Lapis convoy back from first trip

Historic trade route links landlocked Afghanistan to Europe via Turkey

Ekip   | 18.02.2019
Afghanistan: Historic Lapis convoy back from first trip

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan

A landmark trade convoy linking landlocked Afghanistan to Turkey along the historic Lapis Lazuli route returned on Monday, successfully bringing back medicine, solar panels, and oil.

Starting in Afghanistan’s northern Faryab province, the resurrected route goes through Turkmenistan, passes the Caspian Sea, and goes through Azerbaijan and Georgia to reach the Turkish cities of Kars and Istanbul and finally ends in Europe.

Herat Governor Abdul Qayum Rahimi welcomed back the convoy of cargo trucks. He said technical and logistical glitches have been noted to deal with on future trips.

Named after Afghanistan’s precious gemstone, the Lapis Lazuli Route agreement was finalized after three years of talks and signed during the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VII) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan last year.

Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yildiz signed the agreement on behalf of Ankara. Current projects to improve infrastructure and procedures across the five countries are estimated to exceed $2 billion, according to RECCA VII.

According to the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Afghanistan's annual import volume from Europe and Turkey through Iran is $900 million, but the country’s exports to European nations total $6 million a year.

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