As a friendly neighbor of Afghanistan, Tajikistan seeks to further enhance trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, including in the border areas, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon noted yesterday while delivering an opening speech at the 9th Ministerial Meeting of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process in Dushanbe.

In this process, the growth of trade turnover between the two countries is of particular importance. The Tajik-Afghan bilateral trade during 1997-2020 amounted to US $1,549bn and it reached US $70.7m in 2020, Tajik leader said, noting that Tajikistan will try to double the volume of bilateral trade in the near future. 

He further said that there are four cross-border trade points on the Tajik-Afghan border, including the border markets of Tem in Khorog city, Ishkashim in Ishkashim district, Ruzvai in Darvoz district, and Khumroghi in Vanj district.

Four free economic zones have been established and put into operation in the Tajik districts bordering with Afghanistan, Rahmon added

There are currently six bridges between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, and construction of the seventh bridge has begun in the Kokul area.  These bridges play an important role in the expansion and enhancement of bilateral trade relations, according to him.

Tajik president said Tajikistan stands ready to upgrade its cooperation with Afghanistan in the fields of science, education, culture, arts, information and social activities to a new level.

Currently more than 500 Afghan students reportedly study at Tajik universities. During the entire period of Tajikistan’s independence, more than thousand Afghan citizens have graduated from various universities in Tajikistan and earned their degree.

Tajikistan can train specialists for brotherly Afghanistan in the fields of electricity, healthcare, irrigation, agriculture, railways, road construction, construction, architecture, various technologies and hundreds of scientists, Rahmon noted.

Since 2009, 974 Afghan citizens, including 90 women, have reportedly studied at the OSCE Border Management Staff College in Dushanbe.  During 2017-2020, the Adult Training Center of the Agency for Labor and Employment covered 781 Afghan citizens with vocational training, according to Tajik leader. Some 19 Afghan women rescuers reportedly received vocational training in 2019 at the National Training Center of the Emergencies Committee under the Government of Tajikistan.  In 2015, 28 Afghan railway interns studied at the Dushanbe Railway Vocational School for three months, and another 100 are expected to attend, Tajik leader added.