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Afghanistan responds to Kenya over tea smuggling claims

Afghanistan denies claims by Kenya of smuggling Ksh11 billion worth of black tea to Pakistan.

Afghan authorities have dissociated themselves from Ksh11 billion worth of black tea being smuggled to Pakistan through Afghanistan. 

According to a story by The Nation, a Pakistani daily based in Islamabad, Afghan authorities dismissed claims made by Kenya that their nation benefited from black tea. 

This was in spite of a 159% increase in black tea smuggled from Kenya to Afghanistan in the fiscal year 2022–2023. 

The Afghan government informed their Kenyan colleagues that black tea was not used much in their nation and that Pakistani businesspeople were responsible for the imports under the pretense of Afghanistan Transit Trade (ATT). 

Once the tea landed in Afghanistan, it was smuggled back to Pakistan, according to the Afghan authorities. 

“They (Afghan authorities) have told Kenya that in Afghanistan no one uses black tea and the jump in the year shows it is smuggled back to Pakistan,” the Islamabad-based press stated. 

Afghan officials noted that traders from Pakistan were using ATT to avoid tariffs in what turned out to be a large-scale smuggling enterprise. 

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Tea destined for Pakistan is illegally transited through Afghanistan, where it is then transported to Pakistan as duty-free goods. 

The Afghanistan-Pakistan commercial Treaty (ATT) is a bilateral commercial pact that aims to facilitate more trade between the two nations. 

It includes the transit of Afghan commodities by rail through Pakistan, including imports, exports, and unaccompanied passenger baggage. 

Kenya is incurring losses due to rogue traders smuggling tea to Pakistan through Afghanistan. 

In the 2021/2022 Financial Year, Kenya exported tea worth Ksh99 billion, but the amount dropped to Ksh88 billion in the subsequent year. 

While the demand for Kenyan tea has not wavered in Pakistan, more people are buying the smuggled product. 

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