“Afghanistan’s economy is recovering from decades of conflict. The economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 largely because of the infusion of international assistance, the recovery of the agricultural sector, and service sector growth.” – Afghanistan Economy Profile
This seems quite a positive statement.
But what is really happening in the Afghan Economy?
The Afghanistan Economy Profile also addresses this, and gives a daunting overview.
The Afghan economy is made up mostly of services (40%), agriculture (34.9%) and industry (25%) (2008). Its real GDP Growth rate has been sinking since 2009 when it was estimated to be 20.9%: 2011 only achieved a 7.1%. But mostly, Afghanistan is still “extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid”.
The living standards in Afghanistan are still among the lowest in the world. The population continues to suffer from the after-effects of the war: “shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs”.
And according to Achraf Haidari, former deputy ambassador of the Afghan Embassy in Washington, DC, only a “Healthy economy will bring stability to Afghanistan”. In his article by that name in The National, he explains many of the problems Afghanistan still faces.
Most important among them, in my opinion, the current approach in politics. He criticizes that 80% of the help sent into Afghanistan goes to military operations, not the recovery of the infrastructure or the creation of new jobs. “We can’t build schools during firefights; but without schools, the firefights will continue”.
And it’s not like Afghanistan is a country without natural resources. Copper, Iron ore, Lithium – about $3 trillion worth of minerals. But they all need transportation, infrastructure.
Militaries alone simply cannot defeat insurgencies.