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RESTRUCTURING AFGHANISTAN

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Mr Kamalang

NEITHER the time nor the news stop. The US/allied forces left Afghanistan after running and ruining it for 20 years and now have halted nine billion USD support to Afghanistan because they do not want the Taliban in the first place.

US allies know that the Taliban need money for salaries and other state expenditure. The only source of hard cash is an income of cargo transit trading of what is coming in and going through Afghanistan.

The next important factor is the Reconstruction of a ruined country. Official US data shows that since 2002, the US spent $75 billion on building up Afghan security forces, including the Afghan National Army and police force that evaporated the first day the Taliban entered Kabul.

The European media is keeping an eye on the future of Afghanistan and believes that Pakistan and China will be two major countries that will help Afghanistan under the Taliban to run smoothly.

This media also indicates that Afghanistan needs smooth cash for running the government, restructuring its Police and Armed Forces, establishing Intelligence networking and developing its financial structuring.

According to the World Bank, Afghanistan had 83% dependence on foreign funding and grants for running the government. So any government will have huge work to do and greater challenges to deal with because they know US allies would not fund Afghanistan to run the country.

It is important to indicate that the Afghan economy became a parasite during US-sponsored rule and practically nothing was done to enhance the industrial or agriculture base of the country. Afghanistan historically was known for horticulture and livestock trade. A World Bank Report published in 1979 indicates that the Afghan economy was much more promising in 1977-1978 and 1979 than today.

In 1979, livestock products including carpets and rugs accounted for 25% of GNP (Gross National Product) and 23% of exports (1976/77, US$65.6 million) of Afghanistan.

It is pertinent to mention that Afghanistan used to export livestock to neighbouring countries – Iran and Pakistan – and a rough estimation of such unregistered livestock products annual export was over US$33 million.

Despite getting over $11 billion through foreign funding and aid in the Agriculture and Livestock sectors since 2002, neither Agriculture nor Livestock sector reached the level where they were in the year 1979. The top exports of Afghanistan today are grapes ($96.4 million), vegetable saps ($85.9 million), other nuts ($55.9 million), knotted carpets ($39 million) and tropical fruit ($33.9 million).

Afghanistan is a semi-arid country where rainfall is very rare and only affects the northern highlands. The country had been a major producer of sheep and goats before the Afghan-Soviet Union War in the early 80s.

Livestock products continued playing a major role in its economy till 2001 when the United States bombed Afghanistan to throw the Taliban out. The shape of the Afghan economy changed after 2001 and Kabul depended upon foreign aid and international funding to boost the economy and attention was not given to rural areas which were known to produce livestock and dairy products.

I believe that China and Pakistan can play the lead role in developing Afghanistan on a sustainable and self-reliance model and take advantage of huge land for producing horticulture and livestock to huge markets of China and Pakistan.

There is news that European countries are ready to fund Afghanistan-neighbouring countries to host future Afghan refugees. The idea behind this offer is to save European countries from the new influx of Afghan refugees.

I believe that instead of distributing this amount to neighbouring countries, this should be handed over to the new Afghan government for reconstruction and capacity building of agriculture and trade sectors.

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