Taliban seek to turn former foreign bases into special economic zones

Canada Global (Web News) The acting deputy prime minister for economic affairs said in a statement on Sunday that the Taliban government will proceed with plans to convert old foreign military outposts into special economic zones for enterprises.

In December, the acting commerce minister had told Reuters that his department was working on the plan for the former American outposts and would present it for approval to the cabinet as well as the economic committee headed by the acting deputy prime minister, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

According to the statement from Mullah Baradar, “After a comprehensive deliberation, it was decided that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce should gradually take control of the remaining military bases of the international forces with the aim of converting them into special economic zones.”

Since the Taliban took power in 2021 when Western soldiers retreated following 20 years of war, Afghanistan’s economy has reportedly been struggling, and aid organisations are now warning of a serious humanitarian crisis.

The takeover prompted a reduction in development financing, the freezing of assets owned by foreign central banks, and the imposition of banking sector penalties.

Many relief organisations had to largely halt operations as a result of the Taliban government’s decision to prohibit the majority of female NGO workers from working last year, even though millions of people still rely on humanitarian aid.

The Taliban have stated their intention to increase economic independence through trade and investment. Concerns over a string of attacks, including one at a hotel frequented by Chinese businessmen and claimed by Islamic State, have been voiced by several foreign investors.

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