Afghanistan Table of Contents
Pakistan's petroleum cutoff over the Pashtunistan issue and the resulting trade agreement between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union were major watersheds in bilateral relations. The agreement was much more than a barter arrangement exchanging Soviet oil, textiles, and manufactured goods for Afghan wool and cotton; the Soviets offered construction aid to erect petroleum storage facilities, to explore oil and gas reserves in northern Afghanistan, and permission for free transportation of goods across Soviet territory. This new relationship was attractive not only because it made it difficult for Pakistan to disrupt the Afghan economy by blockading or slowing down transshipped goods but also because it provided a balance to United States aid in the Helmand Valley Project. After 1950 Soviet-Afghan trade increased sharply as Soviet technicians were welcomed and a trade office was opened.
Data as of 1997