The Chabahar Port Project and Afghanistan’s Alternative Approach to Trade

19 Apr, 2018    ·   5460

Jawad Torabi explores the challenges and opportunities to Afghanistan’s alternative approach to trade

Historically, and given the tensions in bilateral relations, dependence on the Pakistani market and trade routes has been a point of vulnerability for Afghanistan, a landlocked country. To overcome this vulnerability, Kabul has begun looking for other alternative trade and transit routes, and the trilateral agreement between Afghanistan, Iran and India on the Chabahar Port is at the heart of this pursuit.

Needless to say, the Chabahar project has the potential to provide similar strategic advantages to Iran as was the case with Pakistan. It would provide Iran with opportunities to use those advantages as leverage with Afghanistan over key bilateral disagreements. Moreover, strategic calculations of some other global and regional actors vis-a-vis Chabahar could also impact Afghanistan's interests in the long-term. Thus, Kabul will need take into account a thorough understanding of those challenges and formulate policies that help overcome the obstacles smartly.

Evolving Hydro-Politics in the Kabul-Tehran Bilateral
Water sharing remains a major bilateral issue between Iran and Afghanistan. Iran is facing a severe rainfall deficit and Afghanistan is concerned about a possible drought like situation and is in dire need of electricity. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani raised his concerns over dam construction in Afghanistan several times and has emphasised that Afghanistan must provide Iran