The Afghan Business Council in a statement called on the US and Islamic Emirate to follow and move forward “as per the Peace deal signed by both parties in Qatar” in order to ease economic issues.
The council said that all-out efforts should be made to facilitate the lifting of sanctions and the release of Afghanistan's assets in order to enable economic activity, trade and foreign direct investment.
“We, the traders, called on the Islamic Emirate and US government to move forward based on the deal which was signed between the US and Taliban. We hope the frozen Afghan assets be handed over again to Afghanistan,” said Haji Obaidullah Saderkhail, head of the council.
The Ministry of Economy said that imposition of sanctions and the suspension of aid over the last year has affected the economic growth of the country.
“Over the last year, drought, the immediate suspension of international aid, negative propaganda, the imposition of sanctions, the freezing of Afghan assets and the imposition of restrictions by foreign countries has unfortunately had a negative impact on economic growth,” said Abdul Rahman Habib, a spokesman for the Ministry of Economy.
The statement of the Afghan Business Council recommended that the Islamic Emirate engage with the international community to develop a phased and detailed plan that provides a clear way ahead for Afghanistan to provide a path to remove international sanctions.
“We have said it many times that the winter is coming. If the Afghan government doesn’t engage with the foreigners and the foreigners don’t engage with the Afghan government, the people of Afghanistan will face a serious crisis,” said Jamal Nasir Ibadi, an Afghan trader in the UAE.
The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) gave a similar view, saying that the sanctions have affected foreign investment and trade in Afghanistan.
“It was the sanctions that prevented the foreign investment in the country. When the foreigners come, they struggle to bring money here, through which system. The sanctions not only politically affected Afghanistan but also had a negative impact on the Afghan economy,” said Khanjan Alokozai, a member of the ACCI.
“The poor people of Afghanistan are paying the price for the sanctions. We hope the international community puts aside the sanctions and lets Afghanistan, its private sector and Afghanistan’s industries be active,” said Sakhi Ahmad Payman, deputy head of the ACIM.
The statement of the Afghan Business Council said the Afghan economy has “shrunk by 30%, and overall GDP will have dropped by 35% by the end of 2022.”
“Afghan businesses have had to lay-off most of their workforces, and import restrictions coupled with supply chain limitations have disrupted even routine material acquisitions,” the statement reads. “While the free-fall seems to have stabilized in the last few months, Afghan businesses are still suffering from the near-paralysis affecting the banking sector.”