Sales of silk fabrics have fallen, and the market for silk weaving in the province of Herat has shrunk, said weavers.
According to the weavers, poor-quality fabrics imported from neighboring nations have replaced domestic silk fabrics, such as winter blankets and handkerchiefs.
"Currently, China and Pakistani products are selling well on the market. They import the goods from Pakistan and sell them for 800, but we create this blanket ourselves, it costs us 2,000 to 3,000 afghani, yet buyers don't buy it,” said Mohammad Anwar, a silk vendor.
Mohammad Nasser Mousawi, one of Herat's most experienced silk weavers, said that he first learned the art from his father when he was a little boy.
“We have continued this work, this is an art. This is our profession. We have spent our lives on this, we have to continue this work, one or two of our sons should learn this,” he told TOLOnews.
Murtaza, who has been weaving silk for eleven years, said that the market for silk products decreased in the past two years as a result of the country's economic difficulties.
"Rather than getting better, it's totally wrecked. As you can see, many of our friends and customers have either gone to Iran or Pakistan,” he said.
Another weaver from Herat, Barat Ali, said that in previous decades, Herat's weaving market was thriving.
"The woman and children were working as well, and they were making between 500 and 600 afghanis from this business. There was plenty of work opportunities, and nobody could be found without a job,” said Ali.
The silk market is located in a historic site in Herat's ancient city. Only four of the several weaving machines that were once present in this market are still in use.
The history of Herat's silk weaving is said to go back hundreds of years.