The Pakistan-Afghanistan Investment and Trade Forum 2020 is today set to conclude.
The forum was hosted by Pakistan’s National Assembly — the lower house of parliament — with the two-day occasion serving as an opportunity to increase bilateral trade, advance regional security and conduce cross-border civilian transit.
Despite a number of grievances, officials in both countries have sought to improve relations amid the Afghan Peace Process (APP) and the coinciding US withdrawal. In the summit’s lead-up, Pakistan eased Islamabad’s visa policy towards Afghanis, crucial for landlocked Afghanistan that depends on Pakistani overland and port infrastructure for its international commerce — mostly with India and China. Likewise, during a visit to Islamabad in late September, chief Afghan negotiator Abdullah Abdullah lauded Pakistani assistance in facilitating talks between the government, the US and the Taliban.
Expect relations to build on the forum’s success and maintain a positive trajectory in the medium-term as both countries seek to sustain an amicable environment. Kabul is unlikely to undermine relations as it concludes its comprehensive peace deal with the Taliban. Pakistan, likewise, will tread carefully as it maneuvers through APP negotiations in the hope of securing a friendly Afghan government amid heightened tensions with India.
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