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LAHORE: Pakistan will allow India to use its territory to transport 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and medicine to Afghanistan, beginning this month, Pakistani customs officials said on Tuesday.

The permission of such a convoy is rare by Pakistan, which has barred the entry of goods from India for years as the relationship between the two nations has deteriorated.

It marks a response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, where poverty and hunger have spiralled since the Taliban took power last year.

The first convoy of 60 trucks will cross from India to Pakistan at the Wagah border - a key goods transit point between the two countries - on Feb 22, Additional Director of Customs Beelam Ramzan told Reuters.

“The humanitarian assistance will be handed over to the World Food Program representative in Jalalabad,” Ramzan said, referring to the eastern Afghan city.

Transporting wheat to Afghanistan: Pakistan, India agree to mechanism

A World Food Program spokesperson did not immediately reply to request for comment on distribution plans for the wheat. The Taliban-led administration has been using wheat as a payment for thousands of government workers, mostly labourers, as the country’s financial crisis intensifies.

An Indian government source said India was committed to providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and the methods of delivering aid were being worked out with Pakistan. The source added that India had already sent Covid-19 vaccines and medicines to Afghanistan.

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