Turkmenistan has sent its first humanitarian shipment to neighboring Afghanistan since the Taliban militant group captured the capital city of Kabul on August 15.
“Medications, protective clothing for medical personnel and medical supplies, disinfectants, medicinal solutions, protective masks, surgical gloves, remedies and medications for the treatment of the coronavirus infection were sent to the neighboring country to meet its needs,” the website of the Turkmen foreign ministry reported on September 1.
The shipment was sent at the order of Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. A ceremony to hand over the humanitarian freight was held in the village of Torghundi in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat. The Afghan side expressed special gratitude to the leadership and people of Turkmenistan, which regularly supports the neighboring country.
Through implementing projects in the field of energy, transport, and communications, Turkmenistan continues to support close international cooperation to find a peaceful settlement of the situation in Afghanistan.
On August 30, representatives of Turkmenistan’s foreign ministry, as well as the ministry of health and medical industry, and several government bodies met authorized representatives of Afghanistan’s Faryab Province, the governors of Andkhoy, Khan Chahar Bagh and Qurghan, and the head of the Akina customs checkpoint.
During the meeting, the sides agreed to step up the operation of the Imamnazar-Akina checkpoint, taking into account the sanitary and epidemiological rules. The Afghan side also accepted Turkmenistan’s friendly gesture to provide necessary medical equipment.
Turkmenistan shares an 800-kilometer-long border with Afghanistan. The checkpoints on the Turkmen-Afghan border “Ymamnazar-Akina” and “Serhetabad-Torghundi” operate in the regular mode and provide the passing of the necessary number of automobile trailers and railway carriages under the order agreed by both sides.
Currently, more than 70 railway cars and about 160 freight vehicles are allowed to pass through these checkpoints every day. Most of the cargo transported through the state border consists of oil products, liquefied gas, grain, and everyday goods.
Construction work on the Akina-Andkhoy railway’s Afghan section resumed on August 30, and it is planned to be completed in the near future. The construction of the Kerki-Imamnazar-Akina-Andkhoy railway between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan started on June 6, 2014. A 30-kilometer section of the Akina-Andkhoy railway in Afghanistan was inaugurated on January 14, 2021.
The Taliban offensive began months ago and accelerated amid the withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan that started on May 1. US President Joe Biden said on July 8 that the military mission in the country would conclude on August 31.
In mid-July, Turkmenistan started moving heavy weaponry and aircraft closer to its border with Afghanistan after security deteriorated in the neighboring country.