Pakistan, Afghanistan to resume ‘Dosti’ bus service next year

Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to resume the suspended ‘Dosti‘ bus service between the two countries in 2022 after more than five years, a move that would help mitigate the travel woes of people living across the border of the two countries, according to a media report on Monday.

The decision to resume the bus service by early next year was taken during the recent visit by the Afghan delegation, led by the interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

The bus service will resume from Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to Afghanistan’s Jalalabad, tentatively by early next year, The Express Tribune reported.

The top official of the Afghan delegation said that the final go-ahead for the bus service is awaited from the security services of both the countries.

“The Pakistani side welcomed the Afghan interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi’s request for resumption of Dosti bus services and assured that at most by the start of the next year, the bus service will resume,” the official was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune newspaper.

The bus service between the two countries was suspended in 2016.

The resumption of the service will help mitigate pedestrian traffic at the border crossings and will facilitate Afghan civilians living in or near Jalalabad, the report said.

The visiting envoy also expressed the desire to start similar services from the province of Balochistan.

“Talks have taken place on the resumption of bus services between the two sides. All outstanding issues have been addressed”, the report said.

Pakistan, in recent times, has undertaken a slew of goodwill measures, including facilitating the movement of Afghan students.

The Afghan delegation has welcomed these gestures, including the abolishment of taxes on fresh fruit and showing flexibility in allowing the import of wheat from India via Pakistan, the report added.

Afghanistan has been under Taliban rule since August 15 when the Afghan hardline militant group ousted the elected government of President Ashraf Ghani and forced him to flee the country and take refuge in the UAE.

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