According to the Taliban government in Afghanistan, some former foreign military bases will become business-friendly economic zones. Since the Taliban regained control of the nation in August 2021, Afghanistan has experienced a worsening economic and humanitarian crisis.
The nation had been occupied by foreign military forces for 20 years. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the temporary deputy prime minister for economic affairs, made the announcement.
“It was decided that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce should progressively take control of the remaining military bases of the foreign forces with the intention of converting them into special economic zones,” Mullah Baradar said in a statement.
Without providing any further information, he added that the project will start with locations in the northern Balkh province and the capital city of Kabul.
“The Taliban desperately needs to boost its coffers if it is to govern better and attain some domestic legitimacy,” Muhammad Faizal Bin Abdul Rahman from the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore told the BBC.
“More importantly, the Taliban needs to prove its commitment to economic planning. This includes establishing safe zones near the capital and borders for potential foreign investors such as the Chinese… and to revive regional trade with neighbouring countries,” he added.
Natural resources worth more than $1 trillion are thought to be present in Afghanistan, including copper, rare earths, and natural gas. However, because of the country’s protracted instability, a large portion of those reserves remain untapped.
The final US military flight from Afghanistan in August 2021 signaled the conclusion of the country’s 20-year presence there and its longest war. Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict, and millions more have been displaced.
Afghanistan’s finances have since been severely impacted by a number of other significant problems since the withdrawal of foreign military forces. Government officials have been sanctioned, the central bank’s foreign assets have been frozen, and the majority of the foreign aid that had previously boosted the country’s economy has been suspended.
The Taliban announced earlier this year that it intended to work with a Chinese company to drill for oil in northern Afghanistan. The 25-year agreement highlights China’s economic presence in the area.
Beijing has substantial interests in Afghanistan, which is at the center of a region crucial to China’s Belt and Road Initiative but has not officially recognized the Taliban government there.
The initiative, started by Xi Jinping in 2013, offers funding to developing nations so they can build infrastructure like ports, roads, and bridges.
(Adapted from BBC.com)