On Friday 16 Mizan 1389, the exhibitory caravan of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) arrived in Mazar-e Sharif city. The caravan started the trip
from Islamabad and after going to Tehran, Istanbul and then Alma-Ata, it entered Afghanistan through the Aqena Port and arrived in Mazar-e Sharif. The ceremony organized for reception of the caravan in Mazar-e Sharif was participated by esteemed Mohammad Karim Khalili second vice-president, esteemed Dawud Ali Najafi acting minister of transportation and civil aviation, esteemed Ata Mohammad Noor governor of Balkh Province, esteemed Shama Patijah the president's senior advisor for economic affairs, esteemed Eltaf Asghar deputy secretary general of ECO, esteemed Mohammad Qurban Haqjo chief executive officer of the ACCI, ambassadors of the ECO member countries in Afghanistan, a number of deputy ministers of the sectoral ministries, representatives of governmental agencies and the private sector and some Mazar-e Sharif citizens.
The ceremony was opened with recitation of verses of Holy Koran and after, the national anthem of Afghanistan was played. In the beginning of the program, esteemed Ata Mohammad Nur welcomed the guests and officials of the caravan to the city of Mazar-e Sharif. Later, esteemed Mohammad Karim Khalili talked about the importance of the caravan and reopening of the historic Silk Route. Khalili emphasized on further economic cooperation among the ECO member countries and asked for more exchange of goods among them.
Acting minister of transportation and civil aviation, Dawud Ali Najafi paused on the importance of linking Afghanistan to such economic and transportation organizations saying assessment and implementation of the transportation system of the member countries of the organization, assessment and implementation of the TIR transportation system, increasing income in the member countries, activation of the region's transportation system in cooperation with the IRU, respecting international transportation standards, creation of a logical mechanism among member countries, increasing the level of trade exchanges among member countries, decreasing the level of waste of time while transporting goods, prevention of damage to trade goods, faster access to markets and appropriate use of the geographical location of Afghanistan among the ECO member countries are highly necessary.
Afterward, esteemed Eltaf Asghar, deputy secretary general of ECO spoke about the role of the ECO member countries in connecting the Far East countries to the European countries and connecting the northern countries to the countries in the south as well as the importance of the strategic location of the organization in the region. He added that the ECO member countries with 400 million population are considered as an important economic and trade region in the world while the transportation system of the organization helps in economic development of these countries.
The chief executive officer of the ACCI, Mohammad Qurban Haqjo congratulated the participants on the reestablishment of the historic Silk Route on behalf of the private sector. He further talked about Afghanistan's strategic importance saying Afghanistan can play the role of a beating heart among the ECO member countries by connecting the huge petroleum resources of the north to the markets in the south.
Haqjo stated that Afghanistan could be a connecting bridge between the Far East and the Middle East and the north and the south because it is located in a region which possesses 70 per cent of the world's energy. He emphasized on the importance of the transportation systems. While giving the creation of the IRU transportation system as an example, he said that it had now changed into a successful system and had been very effective and efficient for economic growth of the member countries. He expressed hope that the transportation system of the ECO member countries will one day change into a successful organization in the region and the world like the TIR system.
It is expected that the transportation system among the ECO member countries will be implemented after the exhibitory caravan completes its trip in which case Afghanistan will benefit the most and the Afghan government and people will enjoy better economic development and growth.