WASHINGTON (NNI) - Afghanistan is beginning to emerge from its economic isolation, a top Obama administration official said, hoping the New Silk Route would boost the countrys economic growth. The Afghanistan of today is beginning to emerge from its economic isolation. Though the infrastructure gap remains large, yet the answer is not only about building new roads and rail lines, the undersecretary for economic, energy and agricultural affairs said. As a whole, the region must focus on setting the broad context for sustainable growth, because they all had an economic as well as a security incentive in doing so, Robert Hormats stressed. The importance of improving connections between South and Central Asia - especially Afghanistan and Pakistan is made all the more urgent as we and our allies begin the transition process, which will ultimately result in the complete handover of security responsibility to the Afghans, Hormats said in his address at a think-tank. He said the basis for the New Silk Road vision was that if Afghanistan was firmly embedded in the economic life of the region, it would be better able to attract new investment, benefit from its resource potential and provide increasing economic opportunity and hope for its people. We also believe that the New Silk Road Initiative will be of particular importance to Pakistan, and can be an important way for Pakistan to further develop its economy and provide jobs for its people, he said. He urged the international community to continue to find ways to encourage that growth. I want to underline again that the entire region stands to benefit from expanded economic connectivity. Thats why we are supportive of initiatives that harness the collective economic strength of the region. Besides the Afghan-Pakistan transit trade agreement, other initiatives seek to match energy from Central Asia with Pakistan and India - two markets with significant electricity needs. The TAPI pipeline project would bring on-shore natural gas from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to markets in Pakistan and India. Other efforts would facilitate the transmission of electricity from Central Asia to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, he concluded. Indo-Pak inter-banking Kashmir shouldnt be left alone says Mufti SRINAGAR (NNI) - Welcoming the decision of India and Pakistan to exchange banking facilities to trade between two countries, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammed Saeed recalled for expanding the scope of trans LOC trade and provide banking facilities to the traders. He said in a statement here that Jammu & Kashmir could not be kept away from such inter banking facilities. The initiative should ideally start from Jammu and Kashmir and called upon the Union Government to allow JK Bank to open branches in Azad Kashmir so that the present barter system in LOC trade is replaced with proper monetary exchange he further said. He also stated AJK has a potential of becoming the first model for a free trade zone in South Asia because of its strategic location. Expressing anguish at the tardy pace of implementation of new Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) announced by the foreign ministers of the two countries Mufti said the delay affects the credibility of the announcement. He said if implemented earnestly these CBMs could prove important in finding a permanent resolution of Jammu & Kashmir problem. The PDP patron said the LOC trade had a vast potential of growth and so had the travel between the two parts of the erstwhile state. He said the hassel free trade and travel could do a great extent neutralize the negative effects of partition on our state which was a hub of international trade before 1947 but has been reduced to dead end.