Pak, Afghanistan bus service from March
The bus service will connect the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar and the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, diplomats said.india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 19:34 IST
After setting in motion successful bus services with India and Iran, Pakistan will inaugurate a similar link with Afghanistan from next month.
The decision to start the bus service between the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar and the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad was taken here on Wednesday after talks between officials of the two countries.
Initially five buses will run daily between the two cities, Firdus Alam, joint secretary in Pakistan's communications ministry, told reporters after the talks.
"The proposed bus service would be a good opportunity for people-to-people interaction," said Alam who headed the Pakistani team.
A six-member Afghan delegation at the talks was headed by Deputy Minister for Transport Muhammad Hashim Wahidzada.
The two sides are likely to ink a formal agreement on Thursday.
Wahidzada said a trial bus would leave Peshawar for Jalalabad March 15 and a trial bus from there would arrive in Peshawar March 17. The formal service will begin from March 20, he said.
The fare from Pakistan will be Rs 300 ($5) while from Jalalabad it will be 270 Afghanis. The passengers will be required to carry their passports and valid visa to travel by the bus.
Alam said that talks for another bus link between the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta and Kandahar in southern Afghanistan would be held after watching the response to the Peshawar-Jalalabad service.
Pakistan and Afghanistan only have air service between their capitals, Islamabad and Kabul. The two sides allow trucks to cross the recognized border points of Torkham and Chaman.
According to official records, about 3,000 to 4,000 people daily cross the Durand Line between Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, the illegal crossings between the two countries are much higher.
Pakistan shares a 700-km porous border with Afghanistan.