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Afghanistan turmoil

Afghan food prices soar as imports from Pakistan squeezed

Traders unable to settle payments after U.S. cuts off Taliban dollar access

Heavily loaded trucks waiting last month to cross into Afghanistan from Pakistan at Friendship Gate near the Pakistani town of Chaman.    © Reuters

KARACHI -- Food prices are spiraling in Afghanistan as the local currency plummets under selling pressure and imports from Pakistan decline steeply due to a U.S. dollar shortage that prevents traders making payments.

Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi, vice president of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI), told Nikkei Asia that food shipments from Pakistan to Afghanistan have reduced to a trickle largely because of the Taliban limiting weekly bank withdrawals to $200 -- about 20,000 Afghanis.

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