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Afghanistan turmoil

Pakistan cracks down on food smuggling to Afghanistan

Islamabad targets black market between crisis-hit neighbors to ease inflation

People gather to receive sacks of free flour at a distribution point in Peshawar, Pakistan, on March 30. The government blames smugglers for compromising its efforts to ease food shortages.   © Reuters

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan is clamping down on the smuggling of flour and other commodities for sale on the black market in war-torn Afghanistan, aiming to alleviate its own food insecurity and inflation.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif this month ordered stronger countermeasures at a meeting to review the smuggling of flour, wheat, sugar and fertilizer, all of which were declared essential items by the Federal Board of Revenue (FRB) soon afterward. The prime minister also directed the state-run space agency to provide real-time satellite imagery of the country's borders and movement data to help curb illegal trade.

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