Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan’s Reconstruction
Pakistan role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction and providing humanitarian assistance is neither highlighted by media nor Government of both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
There are many major assistance projects which Pakistan had completed in afghanistan. A state of the art Allama Iqbal Faculty at Kabul University is completed. As a separate project, the Government of Pakistan is furnishing the Iqbal Faculty building. The building of Sir Syed Science Faculty Block is near completion in Nangarhar University, Jalalabad. The structure of Liaqat Ali Khan Engineering Faculty in Balkh University, Mazar-e-Sharif is almost complete. Rehman Baba High School in Kabul was completed, where 1200 students are currently enrolled. As another project on the same campus, hostel for 1000 students is under construction. Pakistan has donated buses for the students of Kabul University. A sprawling Jinnah Hospital Complex with ten towers is under construction in Kabul. It will provide the most modern health facility in the country. Civil work on Nishter Kidney Hospital in Jalalabad is completed. Afghan doctors, paramedics and technicians to run this facility are also trained in Pakistan. A 200 bed Naib Aminullah Khan Logari Hospital is under construction in Logar. Pakistan has also donated mobile field hospitals and ambulances to several provinces. Construction of Torkham-Jalalabad Road in eastern Afghanistan is completed. On request of the Afghan Government, Pakistan has undertaken to convert Torkham-Jalalabad road in a dual carriage highway. About 60 percent work is already completed on this project. With the assistance of Pakistan it has built three intra-city roads in Jalalabad and has provided earth-moving and road building machinery to various provinces. Government of Pakistan has donated fifty buses for public transportation, cash assistance to the Afghan Government and food packages to the needy and school supplies to students in large numbers.
Several other major projects, including two Eye Hospitals, Limb Centre at Badakhshan, two Nuclear Medical Centres in Kabul and Jalalabad, are in the pipeline.
Pakistan has committed US$330 million for reconstruction and assistance projects in Afghanistan. However, every dollar spent by Pakistan has more effect when it is compared with a dollar spent by other donors. Several industries in Afghanistan after 2001 are constructed by Pakistan. State-owned National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) was the first foreign bank to operate in Afghanistan after 9/11. Two private Pakistani banks have followed NBP to Afghanistan and telecommunication industry of Afghanistan drew Pakistani manpower, or Afghans trained in Pakistan. State-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pioneered the opening of Afghanistan to international air traffic.
Arianna Afghan Airlines uses Pakistan’s civil aviation training facilities.
Robust trade and economic interaction is another important feature of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. Pakistan is the largest trading partner of Afghanistan.
Pakistan has provided transit trade facility to Afghanistan for decades without any reciprocity. The two countries are presently engaged in negotiating an improved Transit Trade Agreement to further facilitate Afghan transit trade through Pakistan.
To enhance Kabul’s connectivity to the world, Pakistan plans to improve its road links and develop rail connections with Afghanistan. An unlamented but sad casualty of foreign occupation and long civil war in Afghanistan was the strong performing art tradition of Afghanistan. Pakistan was instrumental in preserving at least some of this tradition as many performing artists took refuge, and grew professionally, during their stay in Pakistani cities. Today, a large number of Afghan artists have close links, and wide following, in Pakistan. The unique relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan – which is rooted in common religion, culture, tradition, history and values – is not just a relationship between two states or governments. It is way beyond this. It is between the two peoples and societies. Pakistan-Afghanistan relationship is unmatched in spirit, level of interaction and variety of interface by relationship between any other two nations.