Latest IG Report Paints Grim Picture of Afghanistan’s Economy

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With planetary assistance to Afghanistan mostly chopped off, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has released a study coating a dire representation of the country’s economical prospects since the Taliban took over.

SIGAR’s Oct. 30 quarterly report—the archetypal since the illness of the U.S.-supported authorities successful Afghanistan—provides a wide overview of Afghanistan’s economical situation, arsenic good arsenic the agency’s enactment implicit the past 3 months.

The outlook is not good. Afghanistan’s system had been projected to turn by astir 0.4 percent astatine the commencement of the year, but economists present foretell a astir 9.7-percent contraction, the study said.

Citing sources from the United Nations, the study warned that poorness successful Afghanistan could summation by 7 to 25 percent betwixt 2020 and mid-2022.

“The UN’s investigation further warns that Afghanistan could look the imaginable of ‘near cosmopolitan poverty” with astir 97 percent of the colonisation surviving beneath the poorness line,” the SIGAR study said. “By September 2021, astir 14 cardinal people—or 1 retired of 3 Afghans—were connected the brink of starvation.”

Factors specified arsenic the COVID-19 pandemic and a summertime draught predate the illness of the Afghanistan government.

But the economical outlook peculiarly dimmed erstwhile astir planetary assistance ceased successful August, cutting disconnected Afghanistan’s quality to concern its ballooning commercialized deficit, the study explained. The Department of State told SIGAR successful October that the United States has ceased astir each assistance to Afghanistan, different than immoderate backing provided done the UN and non-governmental organizations.

“Afghanistan’s system has been highly babelike connected imports, generating a terrible commercialized shortage that was astir wholly financed done outer aid,” the study explained.

Sanctions person further shaken capitalist assurance successful Afghanistan, starring to an outflow of U.S. dollars and causing the country’s currency to plummet, the study said.

“The devaluation of the afghani (AFN) besides impacts the Afghan economy, which could further diminish Afghan households’ quality to acquisition nutrient and different necessities,” SIGAR said of the country’s currency. “Since the illness of the erstwhile Afghan government, the AFN has depreciated against the U.S. dollar, dropping from astir 77 AFN to the dollar to astir 90 arsenic of Oct. 8, 2021.”

It’s not each atrocious quality for Afghanistan, though. The study said the country’s exports to large commercialized spouse Pakistan roseate by 140 percent from Aug. 16-Sept. 30 compared to the play July 1-Aug. 15.

“A customs authoritative reportedly attributed this summation successful commercialized from Afghanistan to a diminution successful the corrupt activities astatine the borderline crossings, specified arsenic authorities officials extorting drivers to walk into Pakistan with their goods, a signifier that had inhibited trade,” the study said.

China could further brighten Afghanistan’s economical prospects arsenic the narration betwixt the Taliban and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) grows closer, the study added.

The SIGAR study cited a Taliban spokesman, who said successful September that China would beryllium the country’s main trading spouse moving forward.

“We ain affluent copper mines, which, acknowledgment to the Chinese, volition beryllium modernized. Finally, China represents our summons to the markets of the world,” the spokesperson said, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the study said SIGAR volition proceed to analyse the U.S. failures of the 20-year warfare successful Afghanistan.

With members of some large parties successful Congress calling for investigations, SIGAR said it has established task forces to probe questions specified arsenic what happened to the weapons, fuel, drones, planes, and different resources the United States provided to the now-defunct Afghan government.

SIGAR did implicit 4 audits implicit the past 4th that purpose astatine helping to reply these questions. One audit, for instance, recovered that U.S. officials weren’t checking to marque definite the Afghan authorities was gathering criteria for receiving nationalist aid.

“SIGAR recovered that [the United States] failed to clasp [the Afghan government] to relationship by enforcing the conditions it established to make a stronger, much professional, and much self-reliant [government],” SIGAR said of its latest audit, the results of which are elaborate successful the quarterly report.

“As a result, DOD [Department of Defense] volition ne'er cognize if the [Afghan army] could person performed astatine a higher level successful the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal had DOD held them accountable for failures alternatively than simply performing tasks for them and providing backing careless of existent progress,” SIGAR said.

The study said SIGAR expects to implicit its investigations successful 2022—”and for the resulting reports to service not lone arsenic forensic inquiries into the origins of the events of summertime 2021, but besides arsenic utile cautionary and instructive guides to aboriginal contingency and reconstruction operations.”

Ken Silva

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Ken Silva covers nationalist information issues for The Epoch Times. His reporting inheritance besides includes cybersecurity, transgression and offshore concern – including 3 years arsenic a newsman successful the British Virgin Islands and 2 years successful the Cayman Islands. Contact him astatine [email protected]

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