Dosti bus service to resume between Pakistan and Afghanistan

Islamabad: Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to resume the Dosti bus service between the two countries, a step being seen as a first positive move towards resumption of frequent movement of locals on both sides of the border.

The decision to resume the Dosti bus service was materialised during the visit of Afghanistan’s interim Foreign Minister Ameer Khan Muttaqi, who came to Islamabad to participate in the Troika plus meeting on the current situation in Afghanistan.

As per the details of mutual agreement, the Dosti bus service would be running from Peshawar’s Karkhano market to Jalalabad in Afghanistan. The bus service would be a big support for thousands of Afghan refugee families, traders and work related locals from both sides, to use the bus for their frequent movements across the Torkham border.

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Muttaqi has also expressed hope that a similar bus service would be started from Pakistan’s Balochistan province in the coming days.

“Talks have taken place on the resumption of bus service between the two sides. All outstanding issues have been addressed,” Muttaqi said during his visit to Islamabad.

The final nod, however, for resumption of bus service will come after going through a scrutiny of security measures in place in both sides, which is expected to be met in the coming weeks.

“The Pakistani side welcomes Muttaqi’s request for resumption of Dosti bus service and has assured that the service will resume by the start of the next year,” said a Pakistani official confirming the agreement reached by both sides.

The Dosti bus service between Afghanistan and Pakistan was suspended in 2016 after the afghanistan-Pakistan border became a hot bed for terror activities, with both sides accusing each other of terrorist infiltration.

The resumption of service is a positive step as it would mitigate pedestrian traffic at the Torkham border, besides providing support in facilitating divided families living on both sides of the border, stretching up to Jalalabad.

Pakistan has been facilitating the movement of Afghan students and has also allowed tax free import of fresh fruits from the neighbouring country. Pakistan is also positively considering importing wheat to Afghanistan from India via its road route.

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