A study by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) reports that over the last two decades Nimroz province has been transformed from a desolate backcountry province into a bustling trade center.
The study is titled "Catapults, Pickups and Tankers: Cross-Border Production and Trade and How It Shapes the Political Economy of the Borderland of Nimroz" and it was authored by David Mansfield, an expert on illicit drug production in Afghanistan.
According to the report, Zaranj, the capital of Nimroz province, has become a major international trading hub in recent years, due in part to Indian investments in the Iranian port of Chabahar and Zaranj.
However, the study said that along with the commercial development in the province, illegal commercial activities have increased.
“Nimroz region borders with Pakistan and Iran; therefore, it has been affected by the political and economic issues of the two countries, and legitimate and illegal economic growth has grown in this region,” said Orzala Nemat, AREU director.
According to the study, along with the growth of legal and illegal trade on the western borders of the country, irregularities in this sector have given rise to aggressive competition from India, Pakistan and Iran in Nimroz's markets.
The Chamber of Commerce and Investment, considering the irregularities in the country's trade, says that not much attention has been paid to this sector in recent years, and they say this his has allowed for the growth of illegal trade in the country.
“Due to the lack of a regular system for the growth of trade, smuggling has increased in recent years, and better work needs to be done in this area,” said Sayed Zaman Hashemi, CEO of Chamber of Trade and Investment.
“The Government of Afghanistan, as an independent government, has sought to facilitate better trade and support the private sector,” said Jawad Dabir, head of media at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
A number of economists, citing the war in the country and the abuse of this situation by neighboring countries, call on the government to design the necessary programs for the growth of domestic and foreign trade.
The experts also criticized the performance of the government against the illegal trade with neighboring countries.