Afghanistan: Taliban to turn ex-military bases into special economic zones

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Afghanistan’s Taliban government says it will turn some former foreign military bases into economic zones for businesses.

Afghanistan has faced a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis since the Taliban regained control of the country in August 2021. Foreign military forces had been in the country for two decades.

The decision was announced by acting deputy prime minister for economic affairs Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. “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 on Sunday.

He added that the project will begin with sites in the capital of Kabul and the northern Balkh province but did not give further details. “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.

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