Afghan economy heads towards crisis following Taliban capture of border trade points

Afghanistan’s economy may be headed towards a major crisis, with the country losing $33.5 million of revenue in the past month after the fall of seven customs ports along the country’s borders to the Taliban.

Over the past month, the Ashraf Ghani government has lost control over Islam Qala, Torghundi, Abu Nasr Farahi, Spin Boldak, Ay-Khanoom, Dand-e-Patan and Shir Khan land ports. This has crippled the government and led to a shrinking of customs revenues.

A total of $91 million in customs revenue was collected by the government in June, but the amount fell to $57.5 million in July, according to an Afghanistan government official, who did not wish to be identified.

Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment officials expressed concern over the current situation in customs offices and ports and said traders are not willing to import goods through custom ports where the government has no control and there is mismanagement.

Acting chief executive of the chamber Shafiqullah Ataei recently claimed that the markets in Afghanistan would face shortage of essentials if the crisis was not addressed.

Scores of traders in Kunduz also voiced concern over the situation in Shirkhan Bandar and said that imports of goods through this port had touched a low, according to local media reports.

Most of those traders who had imported goods through Shirkhan Bandar have shifted to Kabul.

The fall of customs offices and ports to the Taliban has increased concern among traders, who believe this will lead to an increase in smuggling of goods and embezzlement of domestic revenue.

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Afghan traders have told the government that it must oust Taliban from the border checkpoints to prevent loss of revenue and availability of goods in markets, said the official cited earlier.

A US-based watchdog recently said that the Afghan government faced an “existential crisis” after the Taliban stepped up attacks following the February 2020 US deal with the group. The report was prepared by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

The report made it clear that the Doha agreement, instead of propelling Taliban-Kabul talks, unleashed an offensive that caught government forces unprepared and led to an increase in civilian deaths.



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