Taliban’s Control Over Four Important Commercial Ports; Trade of Goods between Afghanistan-Iran Stopped in Two Ports

In the past two days, most commercial ports in the western part of the country have come under Taliban control. A number of sources in the west of the country confirm the fall of the commercial ports of Islam Qala, Torghundi and Shaikh Abu Nasr Farahi to the Taliban, saying that the fall of these ports to the group would limit much of the government’s revenue.

Earlier, Sher Khan Bandar in the north, which connects Afghanistan to Tajikistan, had also fallen to the Taliban.

Khair Mohammad Noorzai, a member of Farah Provincial Council, told 8
Subh that the commercial port of Shaikh Abu Nasr Farahi had fallen to the Taliban on Friday night, July 9. He said, “The soldiers who were in the port have gone to the Iranian bazarcha and the port is under Taliban control.”

“Abu Nasr Farahi port is the second largest commercial port in the country and the closure of this port will have a negative impact on the revenues of Farah province and the government,” he added. The Farah provincial council member also said that all food and non-food items, including oil, enter the country from this port.

Meanwhile, local sources in Herat province confirm the fall of the ports of Hairatan and Torgundi to the Taliban, but local officials in Herat have not commented. According to local sources in Herat, these ports fell to the Taliban on Thursday evening, July 8.

A video has also been posted on social media showing security forces retreating into Iran at the Qala-e-Islam border and handing over their weapons to Iranian border forces.

On the other hand, Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said that security officials were present in the area but were not present at the “duty center” due to security threats. “Our plan is to eliminate the threats, we have measures to retake and suppress the Taliban and their infiltrations,” Arian added.

The fall of two trade ports on the Afghan-Iranian border to the Taliban has prompted Tehran to suspend trade with Kabul. A number of Iranian media outlets quoted Iranian Customs Spokesman Ruhollah Latifi as saying: “Since the events from last Thursday evening, the country’s trade with Afghanistan has been suspended in Islam Qala, Herat province, near the border with Dugharun, Khorasan Razawi, and Abu Nasr Farahi ports in Farah, Afghanistan.”

Mr. Latifi has asked traders to refrain from sending commercial cargo to the Dugharun and Mahirud borders until further notice.

Hossain Salimi, chair of the Iran-Afghanistan Chamber, said that the continuation of this situation would have a negative impact on trade relations between the two countries. Mr. Salimi said: “The events and turmoil in Afghanistan have political implications that cannot be commented on at this time, but given the negative effects of the turmoil on trade relations, its continuation will not be without negative effects on trade relations.”

Meanwhile, officials at the Ministry of Industry and Trade consider the situation temporary and say the problem will be resolved soon. Ahmad Fawad Ahmadi, a spokesman for the ministry, said: “We are trying to get our exports and imports back to normal. These ports will not be under Taliban control in the long run. Local authorities in Herat have promised us that they will regain control of the port of Islam Qala.”

He also said that fuel and food are transported inside the country through these ports, and if the situation does not return to normal, it will have a negative impact on the transfer of our commercial goods, exports and imports.

Government Revenues Are Limited

Some economists say the fall of key commercial ports to the Taliban will limit government revenue. Saifuddin Saihoon, a university professor and economist, says that when commercial ports are handed over to opposition forces, the Afghan government has only one source of revenue, and that is through the imposition of customs duties on imported and exported goods. According to him, government revenues will decrease when exports and imports are cut off.

Mr. Saihoon added: “When restrictions are imposed on ports, it causes commercial goods to be exported and not imported from inside and outside. People and the government and institutions will suffer from a shortage of raw materials and basic needs.”

He also said that the collapsed ports are the most important ports in the country and that most of the imports and most of the revenues are limited due to this.

Abdullah Rasouli, a university professor and economist, also says that with the closure of these ports, on the one hand, government revenues will decrease and on the other hand, the price of Iranian goods in the country will increase. Mr. Rasouli adds that most of the country’s revenue comes from the western customs, including the ports of Islam, Qala and Torghundi in Herat, Abu Nasr Farahi port in Farah and Nimroz port.

He added that the government’s annual revenue through customs is estimated at $2 billion.

Meanwhile, Rafiullah Tabey, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance, said that the Taliban were trying to disrupt Afghanistan’s economic ties with Central Asia by attacking the port of Islam Qala in Herat. Mr. Tabey added that the leadership of the Ministry of Finance has discussed this issue with the security agencies and the situation will soon return to normal.

It is worth mentioning that the commercial ports of Islam Qala, Turghandi and Abu Nasr Farahi are important trade ports in the western part of the country. Most exports between Afghanistan and Iran and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan take place through these ports.