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Suicide attack on Afghan voter registration center kills 31

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KABUL: At least 31 people were killed and more than 50 wounded by a suicide bombing at a voter registration center in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted would-be voters lining up to receive ID cards for a parliamentary election scheduled for October. “There were women, children,” said Bashir Ahmad, who was nearby when the bomb exploded. “Everyone ... Read More »

Afghanistan cut its duty on flour and wheat imports from Kazakhstan

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KABUL: According to the Ag Ministry of Kazakhstan, the country made Uzbekistan reduce a prohibitive excise tax on Kazakh flour from 15% in 2011 to 0% as of September 1, 2017. In addition, the Ag Ministry of Kazakhstan reports that Afghanistan cut the import duty on Kazakh wheat and flour to 5% in April 2018. Moreover, the wheat import duty ... Read More »

Afghans make long trek west before Turkey secures border

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KABUL: Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, Rasulbek plans to try to earn some money in eastern Turkey before heading further west to Istanbul in sarch of a job to support his family back home. The number of Afghans arriving in Turkey tripled in the first three months of the year to 27,000, driven by conflict and poverty and fears that the ... Read More »

Afghan Finance Minister briefs Lower House on national revenue

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KABUL: Afghan Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi and Deputy Finance Minister Karim Baz provided information on the national revenue and other activities and achievements of the ministry to the Wolesi Jirga or the Lower House of the parliament. Hakimi highlighted the achievements of High Economic Council, expenditure of development budget and also provided information on national programs, multi-purpose dams and reforms ... Read More »

Afghan artisans pit their talents against Chinese imports

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KABUL: Afghanistan’s north as consumers turn to affordable, mass-produced fabrics – but in Kabul a small, determined fashion house is fighting to preserve the traditional textiles once integral to Afghan culture. Launched in 2006, ‘Zarif’ – ‘precious’ in Persian – commissions traditional cotton and silk from artisanal weavers, then employs more than two dozen people – mostly women – to ... Read More »

Private sector investment needed to support growth in Afghanistan

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KABUL: Afghanistan’s economy is forecast to moderate to 2.5% growth in 2018 and 2019 due to the challenging security and political situations in the country, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report. The government needs to attract higher levels of private investment to help boost economic growth, create more jobs, and reduce the country’s dependence on donor support. “Despite ... Read More »

Afghanistan’s Economy Projected to Remain at 2.5% Growth in 2019

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KABUL: Afghanistan’s economy is projected to remain at 2.5 percent growth in 2018 and 2019 due to the challenging security and political situations in the country, a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report says. In its Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2018, ADB noted that preliminary gross domestic product (GDP) growth for Afghanistan in 2017 was 2.5%, up only slightly from ... Read More »

Uzbekistan cuts electricity tariffs for Afghanistan

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KABUL: Uzbekistan’s special envoy to Afghanistan in his meeting with the president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan pledged to reduce the current 8.5 cents electricity price to 5 cents and the new prices will come in to effect from July,” the presidential palace said in a statement on Monday. According to the statement, another 1,000 megawatts of power will ... Read More »

Iran biggest trade partner of Afghanistan in 2017-18

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KABUL: Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries said Iran was Afghanistan’s biggest trade partner in the last solar year (March 2017-18) and exported goods worth over $1.98 billion to the neighboring country. ACCI said trade volume was $1.2 billion between Afghanistan and Pakistan and $1 billion with China in the same period. “Now Iran is our biggest (trade) partner,” ACCI ... Read More »

Afghanistan is moving from stabilization to growth

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KABUL: An economic transformation is taking place in Afghanistan right now, with a goal to boost private investment to create jobs and sustainable industries. During the past few months, the government has passed significant economic legislation, opened up opportunities across new sectors and cut bureaucratic red tape to encourage businesspersons to invest. The investor’s rights were not protected by legislation, ... Read More »

DEA busts multi m dollar Afghanistan heroin smuggling ring

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KABUL: Two men have been convicted of charges related to what authorities call a large-scale conspiracy to smuggle heroin from Afghanistan into the United States. One of the defendants, Shamsuddin Dost, reportedly bragged to an undercover federal agent during a meeting in San Jose that he had friends in the Taliban and Afghanistan’s government, and said he was willing to ... Read More »

Afghanistan to hold legislative elections after years of delays

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KABUL: Afghanistan’s legislative elections will be held on October 20, officials said Sunday, following three years of delays as the war-torn country grapples with a resurgent Taliban and political instability. The polls were originally set to be held in 2015 following presidential elections the previous year, but were repeatedly pushed back due to security fears and logistical issues within the fragile unity government. If ... Read More »

Afghanistan sets October date for much-delayed elections

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KABUL:  Afghanistan aims to hold parliamentary and local district elections in October, more than three years late, a senior election official said, although much work needs to happen quickly to meet that timeline in the war-ravaged country. The elections are considered a dry run for the presidential vote to be held in 2019 and a test of whether Afghanistan’s Western-backed ... Read More »

Human trafficking on the rise in Afghanistan despite new laws

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KABUL: One year after Afghanistan strengthened human trafficking laws to prohibit the use of boys for sexual entertainment, there is little enforcement and trafficking is on the rise, experts say. “Bacha bazi” – in which young boys are abducted by commanders who force them to dance and sexually abuse them – was explicitly prohibited for the first time in the ... Read More »

Camel power turns sesame into precious oil in Afghanistan

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KABUL: Old Afghan men looking to soothe their aching joints or enrich their rice dishes stand around a tiny shop where they are lulled by a camel’s steady steps as sesame oil flows into a plastic bucket. The traditional industry in northern Afghanistan is the domain of ethnic Turkmen, though its origins seem unclear. The sesame are pressed not by ... Read More »

Afghan power import from Uzbekistan set to rise

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KABUL : Uzbekistanis all poised to launch work on a major project that will boost power exports to energy-deficient Afghanistan by 70 percent. Construction of the Afghan section of the 260-kilometer transmission line between Uzbekistan€™s Surkhan region and Pul-i-Khumri, the capital of Baghlan province, will start in June. The Asian Development Bank has pledged $70 million for the project, which ... Read More »

Insurgents Profit from Afghan Pistachio

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KABUL: Afghanistan’s highest concentration of pistachio forests, warn that armed gangs and Taleban fighters have taken over the precious natural resource and now make millions of dollars from selling the nuts. The province’s pistachio forests had long been considered a resource that all could draw on, as long as locals harvested the crop at the proper time and handed a ... Read More »

One killed in Afghan Shia mosque attack

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KABUL: Two suicide attackers struck a Shiite mosque in Afghanistan today, killing at least one person and wounding eight others, officials said, in the latest assault against the Muslim minority.Zimbabwean police are investigating former ruler Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace, accused of smuggling ivory worth millions to underground foreign markets, a state-owned weekly reported on Sunday. The Sunday Mail said investigators ... Read More »

Afghan chilgoza may shun reliance on Pakistani market

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KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani has said Afghanistan’s chilgoza pine should be relieved from its dependence on Pakistani market and that revenue from the pine, saffron, almond and other dried fruits could reach $2 billion annually if market is found for them. The president said this while addressing a number of farmers at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on Thursday evening. The ... Read More »

Decline of Afghanistan’s Manufacturing Heart

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KABUL: The provincial capital Pul-e Khomri was once home to thriving textile, sugar and cement industries. Local business leaders warn that a combination of poor investment and the ongoing insurgency meant that losses were proving hard to reverse.   Originally built by a Czech construction company more than 50 years ago, the factory – which has two separate plants – ... Read More »