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National self-sufficiency and foreign investment part of Taliban's strategy

Afghan commerce minister

Kabul: The acting commerce minister of the Taliban administration said that the plan is to encourage self-sufficiency and promote international investments.

"We will start a national self-sufficiency programme, we will encourage all government administrations to use domestic products, and we will also try to encourage people through mosques to support our domestic products. We will support any item which can help us for self-sufficiency," said Haji Nooruddin Azizi to Reuters.

Speaking about the Taliban's strategy for Afghanistan, he said the administration wants to boost trade and foreign investment. He added that countries like Iran, Russia, and China are interested in working with Kabul. "Those who were importing items to Afghanistan from abroad, are asking us to provide opportunities for investing in Afghanistan and they want to invest here instead of importing from abroad."

The minister revealed that some projects like industrial parks and thermal power plants are being discussed with the involvement of Russia and Iran. Taliban is also planning to create special economic zones where US military bases previously existed and develop an industry accordingly.

Foreign investors are interested in the country's mining sector which is valued at over $1 trillion. "An iron mine in western Herat and a lead mine in central Ghor province were part of an auction in which 40 companies took part," said the minister. The outcome of the said auction hasn't yet been announced.

Afghanistan is currently facing isolation from the international community over restrictions on women and due to the lack of formal recognition of the Taliban administration. While the minister did not address the new restrictions, he said his administration always supports women investors and had allocated five acres of land for a permanent exhibition centre and hub for women-led businesses.

Several sanctions imposed by the West are also hampering the country's banking sector. Recurrent attacks on foreign targets have been fueling security concerns among investors.

Azizi addressed the concern and said the Taliban does its best for businessmen to not come to harm. "The attack hasn't had any bad impact, (but) if it happened constantly, yes it might have a bad impact."

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TAGS:AfghanistanTalibanKabulAfghan commerce ministerHaji Nooruddin Azizi
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