Kabul: Development Projects in Afghanistan are now in full swing under the new regime of the Taliban, and some even estimated billions of dollars.
After more than six decades marked by relentless instability, chaos, sanctions, and devastating wars that originated from the Cold War rivalry between the West and the Soviet Union, Afghanistan is finally beginning to lay the foundations for a genuine economy and infrastructure.
This transformation is achieved through both domestic efforts and international assistance. For many of the past five and a half decades, the majority of Afghans lived in extreme poverty, and the country lacked even the most basic amenities such as paved roads, clean drinking water, irrigation systems for agriculture, electricity, internet access, and industrial development.
Today, the Afghan government is prioritizing mega-projects aimed at improving the lives of the entire population and creating numerous short-term and long-term job opportunities with better wages.
The primary challenge Afghanistan faces is that while resources are available, more than 60% of households struggle to afford basic necessities due to widespread unemployment and low incomes.
Development Projects in Afghanistan
Let’s explore some of Afghanistan’s top mega-projects:
- Kabul New City Project:
- In 2008, it was evident that Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, was grappling with overcrowding and strained infrastructure.
- The Kabul New City Project, initially launched in 2008 with an estimated cost of $15 billion, aims to alleviate these issues by expanding the city.
- As of 2023, the Afghan government has finalized the project’s blueprint and started distributing land to thousands of families.
- Despite financial constraints, progress is being made in areas such as water supply, electricity, sewage, and road development.
- The government has also partnered with the Kowar Construction Company to provide housing and infrastructure for 3 million people.
- This project is expected to generate approximately 1.2 million job opportunities in both the public and private sectors.
- Kaaf-Harat Railway Project:
- Afghanistan’s central location between China, Iran, Pakistan, and Central Asian states makes it strategically important for regional connectivity.
- The Kaaf-Harat Railway is part of a proposed $2 billion Five Nations Railway that spans Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China, covering a total length of 2,000 kilometers.
- The railway connects Harat to the Afghan-Tajik border, extending further through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, ultimately reaching China’s Xinjiang region via the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway.
- This railway network also offers connectivity to India.
- In May 2023, Afghanistan and Iran successfully completed the first trial run of the Kaaf-Harat Railway, marking a significant step toward enhanced transportation and trade opportunities.
- China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Extension:
- Afghanistan’s proximity to China through the Wakhan Corridor border provides a valuable opportunity for economic integration.
- In May 2023, Pakistan and China announced that Afghanistan would receive substantial investments to become part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- The inclusion of Afghanistan in CPEC unlocks access to markets spanning Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America.
- This move is particularly promising for industrial activities and mining ventures, given Afghanistan’s significant mineral deposits.
- Kosh-Taipa Canal Project:
- The Kosh-Taipa Canal is a pivotal initiative addressing water scarcity and food shortages in northern Afghanistan. Stretching over 285 kilometers, this artificial river originates from the Amu Darya River, passing through Balkh, Jozjan, and Faryab provinces.
- Approximately half of the canal is complete, with the remaining construction progressing rapidly.
- The canal is set to transform 55,000 hectares of land into fertile farms, focusing on grain and wheat production.
- Afghanistan aims to become a wheat and produce exporter by 2028, potentially benefiting over a million people and contributing to its economic growth.
- Mining Contracts and Natural Resources:
- Afghanistan possesses abundant mineral resources, including copper, iron ore, rare earth elements, aluminum, gold, silver, zinc, mercury, and lithium.
- In August 2023, the Afghan government signed mining contracts worth more than $6.5 billion with local and foreign companies, ushering in opportunities for mineral exploration and extraction.
Despite its tumultuous history, Afghanistan is gradually embracing these mega-projects as catalysts for economic growth, improved living standards, and increased connectivity on regional and global scales.
These initiatives, when successfully executed, have the potential to uplift Afghanistan from its challenging past and pave the way for a more prosperous future.
Development Projects in Afghanistan bring an array of hope for the decades of devastation.
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