Turkey, Afghanistan to form joint economic commission

Turkey and Afghanistan on Saturday agreed to set up a joint economic and trade commission days after a Turkish company vowed to invest $114 million in a dam hydro-power project in the war-ravaged country.

Oğuzhan Ertuğrul, Turkey's ambassador to Afghanistan, on Saturday called on Afghan Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi. At the meeting, the sides discussed boosting bilateral ties, the joint economic and trade commission between Afghanistan and Turkey, projects funded by Turkey, and investment opportunities for Turkish firms in Afghanistan, said an Afghan Finance Ministry statement.

A joint economic and trade commission between the two countries will be established following the parties' agreement in the near future, the statement added.

Ministry spokesman Ajmal Abdul Hamidzay told Anadolu Agency that the meeting also dealt with providing adequate facilities for Turkish traders and investors in Afghanistan and their taxation and related issues.

This week the ministry inked a deal with Istanbul-based 77 Construction & Contracting for extension of the second phase of the Kajaki Dam in the Helmand province, due to be completed within the next two-and-a-half years.

Under the deal, the Afghan state-owned power utility Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) will purchase each kilowatt of electricity for 7.5 cents from the 77 Construction for 20 years after the project's completion, Wahidullah Tawhidi, spokesman for DABS, told Anadolu Agency.

"The Turkish company will generate electricity for 20 years and then it will hand over the dam to Breshna (DABS) and the Afghanistan government," he said after the signing ceremony last week.

With Afghanistan ending its reliance on Pakistan and diversifying its international trade routes, Turkey is emerging as a major player in a number of sectors, mainly construction, medicine, textiles, and home appliances.

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