US freezing of Afghan assets undermines small businesses in Afghanistan – Xinhua

An Afghan boy sells Samosa near the Sakhi shrine during the celebration of the annual Nawroz festival in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, March 21, 2022. (Photo by Saifurahman Safi/Xinhua)

Afghans said US sanctions on Afghanistan had severely undermined businesses and damaged the country’s already fragile economy.

KABUL, March 30 (Xinhua) — “Dozens of people, including 50 women, worked in my company to produce pickles in the past, but now only two people work with me,” said the Afghan entrepreneur Nafas Gul Jami.

Showcasing his products on a stand at a three-day agricultural products expo which opened here on Saturday, Jami said US sanctions on Afghanistan had severely undermined businesses and worsened the country’s already fragile economy. country.

“Afghan businesswomen need economic support and encouragement, and we need to find markets for our products to boost our businesses,” she said.

The 45-year-old pointed to growing poverty, high unemployment, the isolation of Afghanistan and the freezing of the war-torn country’s US$7 billion assets by the United States following the defeat US military and troop withdrawal. of the Central Asian nation in August last year.

An Afghan woman waits for customers at the art bazaar in Bamiyan city, central Afghanistan, March 19, 2022. (Photo by Saifurahman Safi/Xinhua)

In an executive order issued in February, US President Joe Biden allocated $3.5 billion of frozen Afghan assets to families of 9/11 victims and earmarked another $3.5 billion for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. .

The decision, which further aggravated Afghanistan’s economic difficulties, was widely condemned in Afghanistan.

More than 22 million Afghans out of the country’s estimated 35 million people, according to aid agencies, are facing severe food shortages and the war-torn country would face a humanitarian disaster if not was not attended.

“I own a bee farm in the central province of Daykundi but have had no business for the past six months due to economic difficulties,” said businesswoman Zahra Naemi.

Naemi, 30, who has hired 10 people including six women on her farm, has collected 1,000kg of honey in recent years but her produce has been reduced to 400kg so far this year.

Afghans line up to leave the country in Islam Qala, a town along the border with Iran in Afghanistan’s western Herat province, March 3, 2022. (Photo by Mashal/Xinhua)

“People’s purchasing power has been reduced to almost zero and they cannot afford to buy honey and that’s why I sold 400 kg at half price,” complains Naemi.

She surmised that, like her, many businessmen were suffering from lack of market, economic difficulties and sanctions imposed on Afghanistan.

Mohammad Hamid Samadi, an Afghan businessman who runs a saffron production company, told Xinhua that he had exported saffron to 25 countries over the past few years, but his company’s revenue had dropped significantly in due to the collapse of the economy.

“The freezing of Afghan assets led to capital outflows and ultimately to a deterioration of the economy and increased poverty in the country,” Samadi said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister of Afghanistan’s interim government, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, said the country was committed to supporting farmers and the agricultural sector.

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