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First Iranian bank opens in Afghanistan

12/26/04 Kabul, Dec 26, IRNA -- The first Iranian bank in Afghanistan, Aryan Bank, officially began business in this Afghan capital on Sunday.

The bank's managing director, Majid Fotouhi, said that Aryan Bank is a joint venture of Bank Melli and Bank Saderat and has an initial capital of 10 million dollars.

Operations of the bank are governed by the banking laws of Afghanistan, Fotouhi said, adding it was established to facilitate commercial transactions between Tehran and Kabul and strengthen the countries' economic relations.

Fotouhi said there is a plan to open branches of the bank in the provinces of Herat and Kandahar once the security situation in these provinces improves.

There are now 11 foreign banks operating Afghanistan, including Iran's Aryan Bank.

Britain and Pakistan established banks in Kabul in 2002 and 2003, respectively.

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