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Carpet industry takes major knock as client base dries up

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2021)

Afghans working in the country’s renowned carpet industry say they fear for their future and that business has taken a hit following the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) takeover.

“Carpet weavers should be supported and the carpet weaving industry should grow as well,” said weaver Najaf Ali Mejrayi, while pausing from his work on an intricate rug in the capital, Kabul.

Carpets are one of Afghanistan’s most well-known exports, having been exported around the world for centuries.

Manager of the Sadaat Weaving Company, Mohammad Qasim Ahmady, said his primary market used to be European countries and the U.S., with carpets making their way overseas through Pakistan. But now, he said the customer base has evaporated, while prices for materials such as wool are rising.

He used to have as many as 50 employees before the IEA takeover but now has only about half a dozen.

“This business is down and there is not much production,” he said.

Ghulam Wali Mirzaei, who does dyeing for the carpets, said his family’s wellbeing is at stake.

“If this company falls, all of the employees working here will be unemployed. We take care of our family needs only through this job,” he said.

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ADB approves $405 million in grants to help overcome crisis in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 26, 2022)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Tuesday it has approved $405 million in grants to support food security and help sustain the delivery of essential health and education services for the Afghan people.

According to a statement issued by the ADB, under its Sustaining Essential Services Delivery Project (Support for Afghan People), ADB will provide direct financing to four United Nations (UN) agencies operating in Afghanistan.

This is for immediate humanitarian support in response to the unprecedented crisis and to help sustain the country’s human development, the statement read.

According to UN estimates, 22.8 million people are at risk of acute food insecurity.

These funds will enable the provision of emergency food to over 800,000 people and farm inputs, fertilizers, or small farm equipment to around 390,000 households. Around 168,000 people will be covered under food-for-work and cash-for-work programs.

In addition, $200 million will go towards maintaining basic health care and essential hospital services, covering a target population of about 5.3 million people, and the procurement and deployment of 2.3 million single-dose COVID-19 vaccines.

Other initiatives will also be driven through the use of the grant money that includes community-based education classes, for boys and girls; and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will monitor project implementation, undertake macroeconomic and social assessments in the country, and assess the impact of ADB’s assistance.

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Kabul’s China Town to host expo to boost trade

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(Last Updated On: January 25, 2022)

Chinese businessmen in Kabul have said they plan to host a trade fair aimed at boosting bilateral trade ties between the two countries, China’s Global Times reported.

According to the report, China Town in Kabul will host Afghanistan’s first China-Afghanistan commodity technology fair, as well as the second China-Afghanistan business fair in April.

A source from China Town in Kabul told Global Times that arrangements for both expos have been made and invitations have been sent out to key individuals including Afghan government officials and Chinese businessmen.

“This form of exhibition is unprecedented, since no Chinese company has done it before,” Li Xijing, deputy general manager of China Town, told the Global Times on Sunday.

“We have sent invitations to the various Afghan government departments, and they have indicated that they would participate in the meeting at that time… there will be more participants expected,” Li said.

Organizers said they hope to build a bridge for direct communication between Chinese and Afghan enterprises and merchants and create a platform to bring together Chinese businesses.

About 95 percent of Afghan goods are imported, and Chinese goods account for 60-70 percent of all imports.

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First shipment of Indian wheat through Pakistan expected early February

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2022)

India and Pakistan have reached an agreement over the transit of emergency aid to Afghanistan, The Times of India reported Monday.

TOI reported that this move will see 50,000 metric tons of wheat being sent overland from India to Afghanistan via Pakistan in early February.

Indian and Pakistani officials have reportedly worked on the agreement for two months.

India recently sent its third batch of assistance to Kabul, mostly life-saving medicines, by air.

According to the agreement, trucks from Afghanistan, operating under UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) will ferry Indian wheat from the India-Pakistan border to Afghanistan via Pakistan’s Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan.

Pakistan meanwhile announced that it has put all arrangements in place and was awaiting final confirmation from India for the despatch of the first consignment.

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