By: Shukria Kohistani
The United States Special Investigation General for Afghanistan Reconstruction in its latest report stated that the country plans to boost the air exports of Afghanistan. The plan is made for a four-year period of 2021-2025 and is said to be using five major airports of Afghanistan. Based on the plan, Afghanistan air exports will increase by 30 percent.
Afghan economists and citizens have welcomed the US step towards increasing the country’s air exports and considered the step as effective for the economic development of Afghanistan.
Air corridors are considered as one of the universally accepted approaches and have played a significant role in the development of world trade particularly among countries like Afghanistan, having difficulty to connect through land and seaports.
Direct access to global markets is another advantage of the air corridor. In the past, Afghan products were stopped in neighboring countries and sold to world markets according to their specifications; But air corridors – along with new transit routes such as the Azure Road have paved the way for the direct export of Afghan products under the Afghan brand to world markets.
Due to increasing insecurities and surge in Taliban attacks in the country, air corridors are a safer route for the transfer of domestic products and can significantly prevent the damage of possible security incidents.
However, during the period, the air corridors for Afghanistan’s exports particularly the transfer of farmers’ products abroad, have improved and played a valuable role in improving the economy of farmers and villagers. Afghanistan government is determined to continue to work on the development and expansion of this method. Therefore, the role of the United States in Afghanistan’s air export efforts can greatly contribute to Afghanistan’s economic growth and the Afghan people, including businessmen, strongly support this US step.
In order to get lunch the plan, the US is closely working with the Afghan government to renovate the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Kandahar in the south, Mazar-e-Sharif in the north, Herat in the west, and Jalalabad airport in the east of Afghanistan.
The renovation process will also create up to 20,000 jobs and will boost Afghanistan’s air exports by 30 percent. Since the start of exports through the air- air corridor- the war-ravaged country has exported $170 million worth of commercial goods to other countries.
Afghanistan mostly exports its dry fruits and a relatively large amount of fresh fruits and rugs. The Saffron of Afghanistan is the best of its kind in the world and the country is now the largest producer and exporter of pine nuts in the world.
The report comes at a time when the Taliban are having control over six dry ports of the country which has decreased the national revenue of Afghanistan. Herat airport was a halt for a short period of time due to ongoing conflict and Kandahar has been changed to a battlefield between ANDSF and the Taliban.