The magazine is registered by the Federal Service for Supervision of Compliance with Legislation Governing Mass Communications and Protection of Cultural Heritage, certificate of registration ÏÈ ¹ ÔÑ77-21265 of 08.06.2005  
2024  N3-4(229-230)
This would have been simply impossible just a few years ago! But the changes that happen in life sometimes turn out to be much bolder and realistic than the most incredible assumptions. It was for quite long that Afghanistan’s international isolation has made the country’s attempts to enter international trading platforms futile. And now, when the barriers are lifted, Ashgabat for the first time hosted a major bilateral forum that focused on the development of trade and economic relations between neighboring countries.
For justice’s sake, it should be noted that even during the years of the most severe international isolation of Afghanistan, neighbors from friendly Turkmenistan were always ready to provide humanitarian support. The northern Afghan provinces, where diasporas of ethnic Turkmens historically compactly live, regularly received food, fuel and electricity from their neighbors. And therefore, it is not surprising that the current government of Afghanistan sees prospects for gradual integration into the global system of trade and cooperation by developing partnership with its Turkmen neighbor.
As a result, an exhibition of Afghan goods and a large-scale Turkmen-Afghan business forum were held in Ashgabat. These events were attended by a large Afghan delegation that arrived in the capital of Turkmenistan, consisting of representatives of government agencies of Afghanistan, managers and specialists of more than 230 companies interested in developing cooperation with Turkmenistan.
At the opening ceremony, Acting Minister of Industry and Commerce of Afghanistan Alhaj Noor Uddin Azizi delivered a welcoming address for the participants and guests of the exhibition of Afghan goods. He thanked the leadership of Turkmenistan for the active support of Turkmen-Afghan cooperation, as well as its contribution to strengthening peace and stability in the region. The head of the Afghan delegation emphasized that this large-scale exhibition and business forum would give impetus to the development of relations between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan and contribute to achieving a new level of mutually beneficial partnership.
Most of the exhibition space was occupied by numerous stands and pavilions of the trade sector, represented by trading companies, enterprises producing food, dried fruits, processing fruits and vegetables, the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Afghanistan, the Office for Promoting the Export of Afghan Raisins, etc.
The stand with textile products allowed exhibitors to better present the capacities of Afghan manufacturers and present the variety and specification of their products. Various carpets and rugs with original colors attracted attention of visitors. According to experts, the colorful patterns on woolen carpets do not fade or tarnish, and the dyes are made from natural ingredients.
The visitors viewed with interest the pavilions of state companies for development of crafts, as well as private companies specializing in folk crafts, decorative and applied arts, including ceramics, art glass, embossing, wood carving and inlay.
The exhibition also featured the products of fine and skillful work – elegant vases, dishes, panels, decorated with unique mosaics and paintings in the national style, souvenirs and much more, which testifies to the rich heritage and original art traditions of the Afghan people.
On the same day, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted the Turkmen-Afghan business forum as part of the exhibition, the agenda of which included a wide range of issues related to the implementation of trade, economic, export and investment potential of the two countries.
Following the discussions of the prospects of development of bilateral partnerships, the forum participants highly appreciated the fact that Turkmenistan and Afghanistan use all available opportunities to increase cooperation in a wide range of areas based on the positive experience of bilateral relations.
It was emphasized at the forum that Afghanistan attaches special importance to relations with Turkmenistan, which is evidence of good neighbourly interaction in the interests of peace, security and prosperity not only of the two countries but the region as a whole.
As part of the exhibition of Afghan goods and business forum, there was held a meeting of women entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan who agreed on the further steps for development of cooperation and further strengthening mutually beneficial business partnerships.
As part of the exhibition, the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange of Turkmenistan also organized on-site trading with the participation of Turkmen and Afghan businessmen.
The popular wisdom says that the first swallow does not make spring. Perhaps this is true. At the same time, how can one know about the inevitable approach of spring if one does not see the first swallow?

Ahmetdzan NURIEV

©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005