ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday announced to reopen Wagah border crossing from July 15 for Afghan exports after implementing the COVID-19 related protocols.

A foreign ministry statement said that the step was taken at a special request of Afghanistan and with a view to “facilitating Afghanistan’s transit trade.”

“With this step, Pakistan has fulfilled its commitments under the Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). Pakistan has restored bilateral trade and Afghan transit trade at all border crossing terminals to pre-COVID-19 status,” Foreign office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said.

She added: “Pakistan remained fully committed to further strengthening its bilateral relations with Afghanistan in all areas including trade and to facilitate Afghanistan’s transit trade under APTTA (Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement).”

Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said that his country had already restored bilateral trade and Afghan Transit Trade at all border crossings.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share 18 crossing points. Pakistan closed its border with Iran and Afghanistan after COVID-19 cases increased in the country early this year.

Last week, Pakistan opened the Angor Adda point in South Waziristan and the Kharlachi crossing in Kurram districts bordering Afghanistan to boost trade between the two countries after months-long closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While the Angor Adda was operationalised on July 10, two days ahead of its scheduled opening, the Kharlachi was reopened on July 11.

Last month, Pakistan reopened Torkham crossing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Chaman point in Balochistan and Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan tribal district to promote bilateral business and trade activities.

Pakistan is the largest importer of Afghani products, while Afghanistan is the 4th largest destination for Pakistani exports.