”A stone statue of a standing Buddha on the northeast mountain of the King City is one hundred and forty or fifty feet high, golden shining, and precious decorations glowing. There is a garan in the east, which was built by the first king of this country.” This was more than a thousand years ago in the Tang Dynasty of China. The eminent monk Xuanzang’s description of Afghanistan in The Western Regions of the Tang Dynasty.
”The Taliban announced the founding of the nation, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” On August 20, 2021, Chinese entrepreneur Yu Minghui, who stayed behind in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, said in the WeChat Moments of Friends.
On the 19th local time, the Afghan Taliban announced the establishment of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”
Afghanistan is now the focus of global attention.
”China Economic Weekly” connects people who are still in Afghanistan and those who have left Afghanistan. Everyone is making different choices in the face of drastic changes.
Chinese businessman: The Taliban found Chinatown and said they could mention it if there is demand
”The import of raw materials is still not smooth, and mass production will take a while. Except for the airport is crowded with people of all kinds who moved out, the whole of Afghanistan has slowed down and took a breath.” Yu Minghui, a Chinese entrepreneur who stayed in the “China Town” in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, said “China Economic Weekly” said.
Chinatown was built in 2019 and is a very lively area in the local area. Yu Minghui is one of the people in charge of preparing for the construction of “China Town”. He came to Afghanistan to do business in 2001 and set up an office in Afghanistan in 2002. He was one of the first Chinese businessmen to enter the Afghan market.
At present, there are not many Chinese in Afghanistan. Yu Minghui said: “It’s a mistake to stay in Afghanistan. Instead, it has complied with the promise in the contract, but bears the care and concern of domestic relatives and friends.”
He and his partners are preparing for the construction. After the completion of Chinatown, factories that produce products including cables, plastic packaging, paint, daily chemicals, clothing and shoes have been introduced into Afghanistan in 2021, and the factories have been put into production or commissioned production one after another.
”I have visited Iran, the UAE, and Russia. At that time, we did a lot of research and practice. Afghanistan urgently needs basic industrial construction and is friendly to the Chinese, so we finally chose Afghanistan.” Yu Minghui said.
He believes that the present is different from the past. In the previous ten years of economic and trade exchanges, the trade relationship between Chinese businessmen and local customers in Afghanistan is good. When it comes to a company’s issues, the company must be honest. We also don’t want to leave Afghanistan with the impression that the Chinese don’t talk about credibility, and if there is a little trouble, there is no determination.” Yu Minghui said.
Unlike many people in the outside world who think that war is another name for Afghanistan, Yu Minghui, who lives and works in Afghanistan all the year round, sees that the situation in Afghanistan is different from what most people imagined by artillery fires and positions. Although there are still violent and terrorist attacks, it is realistic. The fierce frontal war in China is almost invisible.
On the afternoon of August 15 when the Taliban entered Kabul, Chinatown closed its doors behind closed doors.
On the day the Taliban entered Kabul, Mr. Wood, an old friend of Chinatown, the chairman of the Afghanistan Electrical Appliances Association, informed the Chinese friends one by one to bring important items, close the door and go home and wait for news.
Yu Minghui’s colleague Gao Susu told reporters that the suspension of business was mainly to prevent thieves and looters. Except for sporadic gunfire from time to time, there was no major movement that day.
Although the Taliban soldiers did not knock on the door in Chinatown, Yu Minghui and his partners still had initial contact with Taliban officials.
Yu Minghui told reporters: “There are Taliban people in every district and even every street. The Taliban heard that something was happening in Chinatown, so they came to a higher-level official and asked if there were any difficulties? They must help. They said that Chinese are friends. If you have any troubles or difficulties, don’t hesitate to say.”
His factory also got news: If you’re worried about safety, the Taliban said they can send sergeants on duty. It’s definitely not like the previous police who have to collect money and don’t care about food. They said that as long as they stay here, they are helping Afghans, and protecting investors is the responsibility.
Yu Minghui told the reporter of China Economic Weekly that the Chinese who are still in Kabul are basically concentrated in Chinatown. At present, the order in Chinatown is relatively stable, and Chinatown has also taken a series of measures, including installing protective nets and increasing security guards.
Starting from August 15th, Chinatown will be closed to watch the situation change.
Former Afghan minister delivering food in Germany and Afghan refugees in the UK
On August 17, local time, the third day after taking over Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, the Taliban held their first press conference. Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said that for the sake of peace and stability in Afghanistan, the Taliban has pardoned everyone. “No one will knock on their door and ask who they are and who they are working for. They are safe, and no one will be interrogated or hunted down.”
However, many Afghans still feel uneasy about the future, and some find ways to escape. .
According to a report by the local German newspaper Leipzig Volkswagen on August 21, Said Ahmed Saud Sadat, who had served as the Minister of Communications and Information Technology of the Afghan Government, was found to have lived in Germany and became Germany. A food delivery man in Leipzig delivers pizza on a bicycle every day.
In an interview, Sadat said: “I am living a simple life now.” According to the
information, when Sadat was the minister, he was responsible for expanding the mobile phone communication network in rural areas. In 2020, Sadat was forced to resign after the Ghani government refused to allocate funds to the institutions it led and instead used it to support the national strategy against the Taliban. After that, he obtained a visa and went to Germany to start a new life.
Although he has become a civilian from a minister, Sadat has been much luckier than many Afghans who have gone abroad.
Nethar Ahmod in Cambridge, England, told China Economic Weekly that he is currently unemployed and is dependent on friends for relief.
Ahmed left Afghanistan in 2017 and took the path of “Turkey-Greece-Germany-UK”.
On August 17, the British government announced that it plans to accept about 20,000 Afghan refugees within a relatively long period of time. According to the British government’s Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, 5,000 Afghans are allowed to settle in the UK in the first year, and will focus on women, children, and religious and other minorities at risk.
However, according to public opinion polls, many British people do not welcome refugees and do not approve of the British resettlement measures. On August 18, former Prime Minister Theresa May severely criticized the current British Prime Minister Boris, and the British Parliament debated the issue of Afghanistan. Facing the angry accusations from lawmakers, Prime Minister Boris was the first to deny that the British army was “unprepared” when the Taliban took over Afghanistan, insisting that the logistics related to the evacuation had been prepared for several months.
”I have been in the UK for two years. I caught up with the new crown pneumonia epidemic and became unemployed. At present, my wife and younger siblings are still in Kabul. Since my father worked in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Ghani government, our family is very afraid of retaliation. , It is said that the situation is very bad now.” Nesar Ahmod told China Economic Weekly.
Ahmod is an Afghan Tajik, the second largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, accounting for about 25% of the total population.
In the history of Afghanistan, the Tajik tribe has led the “Northern Alliance” to fight the Taliban, and according to Western media reports, this nation has a large proportion of the Afghan elite and has a lot of wealth.
Ahmed introduced to China Economic Weekly that the Taliban belong to the Pashtun ethnic group, which is the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, accounting for about 40% of the population.
”Tajiks and Pashtuns have the same religious beliefs, but their languages, lifestyles, and traditional costumes are different. For example, Tajiks speak Persian, while Pashtuns speak Pashto, but both languages are Afghan. Official language. Both of these ethnic groups are very good. Western media have carried out a lot of bad publicity on us. If there is any difference, in comparison, Pashtun people are more traditional.” Ahmad said.
Young people staying in Kabul
According to data from the UN Refugee Agency in June, Afghan refugees exceeded 6 million at most. Since 2021 alone, the turmoil in Afghanistan has caused 400,000 displacements. There are still about 3.5 million Afghan refugees, and the number of Afghan refugees who want to leave Afghanistan is also Surge.
Just before the Taliban came to the city, Afghanistan’s first female director with a doctorate in film and the chairman of the Afghan Film Association, Sahre Karimi, issued a letter for help, calling in the letter: “Please help us and don’t abandon Afghanistan.”
After fleeing Kabul with the joint help of the governments of Ukraine, Turkey, Slovakia and Iran, she said on social networks: “I am ashamed of my departure.”
In fact, not many people are able to leave Afghanistan.
Although the U.S. government has launched the “Allies Asylum”, claiming to issue “special immigrant visas” to more than 22,000 Afghans, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) data, there have been at least 300,000 Afghans in the past 20 years. People who have assisted the U.S. military, and the civilians who are eligible for U.S. refugee protection account for only a very small percentage, and the visa process is extremely cumbersome. The average time for applicants to wait for visa approval is 3 years.
According to statistics from the Central Bureau of Statistics of Afghanistan, the population of Afghanistan in fiscal year 2019/2020 is approximately 32.2 million, with an annual population growth rate of approximately 2.14%. Due to the perennial war, the proportion of young people in the Afghan population is very high, of which 15.4 million people are under 15 years old, accounting for 47.7%, ranking among the highest in the world. The population over 65 only accounts for 2.7%.
Husseini, a young man who stayed in Kabul, said on social networks that he had received a request from the Taliban: to resume work and go to work as soon as possible.
At present, this scene is not only happening in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, but also in other Afghan cities.
Previously, many women were worried that the Taliban would be unemployed when they came to power. From 1996 to 2001, when the Taliban came to power, women were unable to work or receive education. From the age of eight, they must wear a burqa and be accompanied by a male relative to take to the streets. They cannot wear high heels, cannot ride bicycles or motorcycles, cannot call a taxi without a guardian, and cannot speak loudly in public. Women are not allowed to appear on radio, television or public gatherings.
But at the August 17 press conference, Taliban spokesperson Mujahid said that women are an important part of society and the Taliban will allow women to work and study and enjoy all rights “within the scope of Islamic principles.”
The subtle thing is that although women can return to work, their jobs are gone.
A number of well-known Afghan hostesses and female professors said on social networks that they have resumed their jobs, but their positions have not been restored.
Afghan Dawn TV reported on August 20 local time that dozens of Afghan women who had worked in the government and non-governmental organizations took to the streets of Kabul to hold a rally on the same day, hoping that women’s rights to participate in government affairs, receive education and work in the future will be guaranteed.
Husseini told China Economic Weekly that the biggest headache at the moment is prices. The average monthly income of Kabul people is 40 US dollars (about 267 yuan). Today, 5 kilograms of rice on the market is 300 Afghanis (about 25 yuan), which is unbearable for ordinary Afghan people.
According to data from the World Bank, Afghanistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 is US$19.807 billion, an increase of 2.67% from US$19.291 billion in 2019. The per capita GDP is US$508. Nearly 40% of the population lives on an absolute basis of less than US$1 a day. The state of poverty.
Poor countries, rich mines and “imperial cemeteries”
”Although Afghanistan is now one of the poorest countries in the world, Afghanistan is rich in mineral resources. This country is rich in precious metals, uranium, natural gas, and oil reserves, worth about 3 trillion US dollars.” August 16, Germany “Frankfurt The report reported.
The Japanese “Diplomat” magazine also reported in 2020 that American geologists discovered in 2010 that Afghanistan is rich in mineral resources such as gold, iron, copper, lithium, cobalt and rare earths, among which lithium resources are particularly rich. The total valuation of these mineral resources is 1 trillion to 3 trillion US dollars.
The report mentioned that the United States Geological Survey (USGS) data show that by 2040, the global demand for lithium is expected to soar 40 times compared with 2020. The US preliminary analysis of an area in Ghazni province (Ghazni) in Afghanistan shows that its lithium resource reserves are almost as large as Bolivia, which has the largest known lithium reserves in the world. An internal memo of the US Department of Defense in 2010 also referred to Afghanistan as the “Saudi Arabia” in the field of lithium resources, which means that it may be as important to the global battery metal supply as the Middle East countries to crude oil.
However, Afghanistan’s infrastructure is very weak, electricity is scarce, and roads and railways are in dilapidated conditions. It is very difficult to develop mineral deposits. Many economists believe that mining ore resources cannot solve the short-term economic dilemma in Afghanistan.
Germany’s “Der Spiegel” weekly published an article on August 16 that, although Afghanistan’s future reconstruction is a big opportunity, according to the current European and American policies, the West may lose the opportunity to participate in the reconstruction.
According to a report released by the World Bank in 2019, Afghanistan’s business environment is very poor, with ease of doing business ranked 173rd (173/190).
In the “2020 Global Happiness Index Report” released by the United Nations, Afghanistan ranked first among 153 countries and regions. According to Transparency International’s 2019 Global Corruption Perceptions Index, Afghanistan ranks 173rd in the Corruption Perceptions Index among 180 countries and regions in the world.
In recent years, many international organizations and countries, such as the World Bank, the European Union, the British Agency for International Development, the United States Agency for International Development, and the International Development Research Center, have tried to help Afghanistan. Various related forums have been established around the world, such as the Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan, but these measures have failed to bring stability and prosperity to Afghanistan.
Since the 19th century, Afghanistan has experienced three Anglo-Afghani wars, Soviet invasions and American invasions. Here, Western countries have never won the final victory, and Afghanistan has been called the “Imperial Cemetery.”
At present, many Western scholars call Afghanistan a typical “failed country.”