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    ISLAMABAD, January 19, 2003 (RIA Novosti correspondent Vladimir Shreter) - Commodity turnover between Pakistan and Afghanistan will hike from the present $620 million up to $1 billion as early as in 2004, Pakistani Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz said yesterday evening when he and Amin Arsala, Afghani Vice-President, made an appearance to the press.

    He said the $100 million in aid Islamabad had promised to Afghanistan would go to rebuild the highway linking Pakistan's checkpoint, Torham, to Jalalabad, capital of Afghanistan's Nangrahar province.

    The reconstruction effort will begin as early as in February, according to Mr Aziz. Preparations are being made for the construction of Afghanistan's first ever railway that will run from the province of Belujistan, near the Pakistani border, to Kandahar. With time Kandahar will evolve into a major terminal on the trade route from Central Asia to Pakistan's sea ports and back, said the minister.

    Moreover, Pakistan plans to construct a few new buildings in the Jalalabad and Kabul universities, build a medical centre in Kandahar and an information centre in Mazari Sharif, a major city in northern Afghanistan.

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