Afghan businesses are struggling to survive as the country tries to move from dependence on foreign aid, to a self-sustaining economy. Kirsty Basset reports.
When NATO troops in Afghanistan peaked at 140,000, construction business owner Sayed Dilagha employed 25 people. Now that most of the troops have gone, there are just three people on the payroll, and he's considering selling his machinery. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) OWNER OF THE OMID GARDIZI CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, SAYED DILAGHA MOSSAVI, SAYING: "Right now business is in a bad shape. Our business depends on foreign companies and foreign troops but since foreigners left Afghanistan, our business has been getting worse." He's caught up in Afghanistan's difficult transition from dependence on overseas aid - to a real economy. Reconstruction funding from the U.S. has fallen from 16.7 billion dollars in 2010, to 6.3 billion. Not helping matters - a government plan to create a self-sustaining economy is underfunded and behind schedule. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) MASON AND KABUL RESIDENT, MOHAMMAD YAQUB, SAYING: "We ask the government to provide job opportunities for the people. The government has to build factories where we can work because we are tired of being jobless. When some people want to leave the country, the government stops them. What should we do?" The stuttering economy could have security implications too. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) LABOURER AND KABUL RESIDENT, MEYA JAN, SAYING: "There are no jobs in this country so some youths will join the Taliban or Islamic State groups." The government believes it can achieve self-reliance in 10 years. But an official source who didn't want to be identified has told Reuters that timeframe is unrealistic.