Early Links with the Soviet Union
Pakistan's petroleum cutoff over the Pashtunistan issue and the resultingtrade agreement between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union were major watershedsin bilateral relations. The agreement was much more than a barter arrangementexchanging Soviet oil, textiles, and manufactured goods for Afghan wool andcotton; the Soviets offered construction aid to erect petroleum storagefacilities, to explore oil and gas reserves in northern Afghanistan, andpermission for free transportation of goods across Soviet territory. This newrelationship was attractive not only because it made it difficult for Pakistanto disrupt the Afghan economy by blockading or slowing down transshipped goodsbut also because it provided a balance to United States aid in the HelmandValley Project. After 1950 Soviet-Afghan trade increased sharply as Soviettechnicians were welcomed and a trade office was opened.
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