Business & Economy

Ex US military bases to turn into special economic zones in Afghanistan

Kabul, Feb 9 (EFE).- Former military bases established by foreign troops in Afghanistan will soon turn into special economic zones in the Taliban-ruled country, an official said on Thursday.

The move is being taken to strengthen the economy and help create jobs in the crisis-ridden country, said an official from the deputy of prime minister’s office.

The official told EFE that the government had formed a committee for a report on the possibility of converting military bases into special economic zones.

The panel is studying the possibility of transforming military bases in Kabul, Parwan, Nangarhar, Balkh, Kandahar, and Herat provinces.

“These sprawling military bases are equipped with required facilities and are suitable for special economic zones as well,” the official said, speaking anonymously.

Afghanistan is in the middle of a deepening economic crisis following the withdrawal of American troops in August 2021.

The de facto Taliban government, seeking global recognition, has been eyeing international investment, which has not been forthcoming due to the isolation and suspension of some humanitarian operations over curbs on women

According to the World Bank, since the Taliban came to power, income and economic output in Afghanistan have fallen by 20-30 percent, while imports have declined by about 40 percent.

About 70 percent of Afghan households are unable to meet basic food or non-food requirements.

Disbursements from the Afghan Fund would, for instance, enable Afghanistan to keep up with its debt payments to international financial institutions, thus preserving its eligibility for development assistance and payment of critical imports.

According to the United Nations, around 28 million Afghans, or two-thirds of the population need aid, and around six million are on the verge of starvation amid a severe economic crisis, drought, and the consequences of two decades of war.

The crisis in Afghanistan – aggravated by the Taliban seizing power in August 2021 and the subsequent disruption in international aid – has worsened the situation while Islamists and Afghan groups keep calling for the release of frozen Afghan funds worth $7 billion. EFE


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