Fears of Economic Depression Loom in Afghanistan After 2014

11 more in collection Editor's Picks 15 March 2013 , 57 more in collection Produced , 39 more in collection Documentaries

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The international community is going to hand over full responsibility of the security and defense of Afghanistan to Afghan forces by 2014. It has been declared by the international community that the military pullout of the international forces will be accompanied with a reduction in aid money.

This happens at a time when 90 percent of GDP of Afghanistan is dependent on the foreign aid, and within the past ten years, solid measures to help Afghanistan become self sustainable financially have not been taken by the Afghan government and its international benefactors.

Many in Afghanistan believe that the reduction of aid without solid measures will lead to a financial crisis in Afghanistan, which will pave the ground for political instability and pervasive insecurity.

According to the World Bank's recent report TRANSITION IN AFGHANISTAN LOOKING BEYOND 2014, which came out in November 2011, the reduction in aid money will reduce civilian service delivery and will thus lead to economic depression.

The report says, "Aid for Afghanistan in 2010-11 was about $15.7 billion and World Bank's estimation suggests that a $0.5 billion decline in the external budget, which is going to happen, could affect 11,000-18,000 job opportunities in Afghanistan (on a six-month basis.)

Amar Rezayee, who is 23-year-old Afghan and an employee of one of the projects of USAID, which is the biggest donor in Afghanistan, says,

Translation sound bite #1, Amar Rezayee (USAID employee) (00:57- 1:52): "After 2014 the situation in Afghanistan will get worse because America says that they will take their troops out of Afghanistan, so it will effect security and will also have a bad affect on the economic situation in Afghanistan. Now there are a lot of salaries from USAID that are very high and can help me pay for my tuition at the American University of Afghanistan. But when Americans leave this country there will be high salaries for a limited number of people. Personally for me, it will have a very bad effect and I will not be able to attend this university because I won't be able to pay."

The World Bank report also states that In 2010/11, total public spending, including the “core budget” and “external budget,” was $17.1 billion.

Of this total spending, $15.7 billion was financed by international aid and only $1.9 billion of it was Afghanistan's budget.

Some people in Kabul are already scared of Afghanistan's future after 2014.

Vox Populi:

Translation Sound bite #2 Shafiq saighani (Kabul resident) (2:00-2:27) " If the US leaves Afghanistan, the financial support will be cut from Afghanistan, educational scholarships will be cut from Afghanistan, the unemployment will raise up and not only Taliban but also Iran and Pakistan will interfere in Afghanistan's affairs."

Analysts are also pessimistic about Afghanistan's future because of the foreseeable economic crisis after 2014.

Translation Sound bite #3, Candace Rondeaux (Crisis Group’s senior analyst in Kabul)(2:47-4:33) "The impact of the economical transition and the lack of planning will be tremendous. Politically it increases competition between Afghan elites. but more importantly what it does is it creates an environment of instability and insecurity and that I think will create incentives around the accedes of many, many Afghans for major capital flight, and also it will raise competition and rivalry between communities that could become very, very violent.

The impact of the internationals being present here has increased income tenfold for the average Afghan man. It has created opportunities for Afghan women, which weren't there before. Once all of that collapses, first there is the impact on the family life which is going to be tremendous. Where women once had the ability to go out and work and find some sort of independence, I think that will go away quickly, in fact I think that will be the first thing that will go away. For young men, who have been earning a thousand dollars a month or in some case five thousand dollars if they were working on an international organization, for them, they have been in a certain standard of living in the past ten years and have become completely dependent on this type of money. They have cars now, they have got houses to maintain and suddenly that goes away. Imagine the impact on the family; already there is a lot of intentions around money issues in every family, doesn't matter if its Afghan or American but when income starts to shrink that always has an impact."

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