Sun, May 29, 2016 - Page 14 News List

Security, foreign pullout weigh on Afghanistan town

By Guillaume Decamme  /  AFP, HAIRATAN, Afghanistan

“After 2014 and the NATO withdrawal, the economic situation of the Afghans went down, especially in Balkh,” Delsouz siad.

“Their incomes went down by 50 percent. The situation is especially dire for students. The government cannot absorb all of those who enter the job market and offer them jobs,” he said.

Added to this is insecurity. The 80km asphalt road leading from Hairatan to Mazar is safe, but the Taliban, who began their annual spring offensive last month, are clashing with Afghan forces across the nation, especially in the east, where Islamic State group is also trying to gain a foothold.

Mohammed Eisa Amiri, a former warlord turned importer-exporter, said the insecurity has shaken Uzbek merchants, even if it does not touch Hairatan.

“They no longer have confidence in us because of the Taliban and Daesh [Islamic State]. They do not want to get involved in Afghanistan,” he said.

“If the world continues to ignore Afghanistan, we will return to civil war, as in 1992,” he said, adding that: “I am ready to take up arms again if our region is threatened by the Taliban.”

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