The Silk Road was a network of trade routes that for centuries played a central role in facilitating cultural and commercial interaction across Eurasia. The terrestrial and maritime routes of the Silk Road connected Asia and Europe, the East and West, stretching from the Korean peninsula and Japan to the Mediterranean Sea. The Afghan cities of Kabul, Balkh, Herat, Kandahar, and Bamyan constituted some of the key ancient cities through which the Silk Road passed.Continue reading
Category: Doing Business in Afghanistan
In the 11th Silk Road Mayors Forum (SRMF) in Iran last September, the World Citizens Organization (WCO) and members of the SRMF unanimously selected the historic Kabul City to host the next SRMF on October 20, 2017. This rightfully recognized Afghanistan’s ancient status as the heir of the Silk Road civilization and a regional intersection that connects people, businesses, cultures, civilizations, and consequently invites friendship and cooperation. It also demonstrates increased international confidence in the administrative capacity of the Afghan government under President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.Continue reading
Partnership defines this fast shrinking century. Since the end of the Cold War, the world has increasingly become interdependent both in security and economic development terms. That is why countries no longer speak with the kind of zero-sum undertones, which they used to do in the last decades of the Cold War and the early years of the post-Cold War. At least in rhetoric, ‘win-win partnership’ has replaced the realpolitik jargon of the past century and increasingly guides states towards a new world order whereby every state should be afforded the opportunity to grow and develop alongside the rest.Continue reading
Almost twelve years have passed since the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, but peace remains elusive. Four interlocking challenges with internal, regional, transnational, and international dimensions impede Afghanistan’s stabilization and reconstruction. Each challenge facing Afghanistan feeds off the others, and together they have engendered a vicious circle that is destabilizing the country.
After decades of violence, the opium poppy crop remains one of the few stable income sources for poor Afghan farmers, who cannot be effectively persuaded to end poppy cultivation without being granted alternative ways of making a living. In 2005, most farmers complied with the poppy ban set out by the Afghan government with the understanding that legal alternative means of survival would be provided. But when the promised aid failed to materialize, drug production quickly rose again.
In mid-June, an article in the New York Times revealed to the world something that many Afghans already knew: Afghanistan sits on about $1 trillion-worth of minerals. Afghans are now hoping the news will help the government attract much-needed foreign investment.
India’s initiative to host the Delhi Investment Summit on Afghanistan tomorrow is a welcome step forward in enabling the country to achieve long-term economic self-reliance, in line with the key objectives of recent international conferences. The one-day summit intends to showcase Afghanistan’s economic potential and attract foreign investment, while exploring possibilities of cross-country investment partnerships and collaborative ventures from within the region and beyond as a regional and international confidence-building measure.
We often hear about Afghanistan’s domestic, regional, and transnational challenges each posed by the country’s abject poverty, the Taliban’s cross-border insurgency, and terrorism and drug trafficking that collectively destabilize Afghanistan. But we seldom pay attention to the greatest challenge posed to Afghanistan’s nation-building process by a lack of aid resources coupled with weak strategic coordination of aid implementation by the international community. Some of these challenges deserve special mention both to help overcome them and to avoid collective failure in a country where the international community continues to have the highest chance of success in view of Afghans’ optimism for a better future and their unlimited support for the international peace-building efforts in Afghanistan.