Taliban Makes Announcement For Bagram, Other Ex-Military Bases

Photo by ZAKERIA HASHIMI/AFP via Getty Images

Alyssa Blakemore Contributor
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Taliban leaders in Afghanistan unveiled plans Sunday to turn former foreign bases into special economic zones.

The move to convert former ex-military bases into economic zones comes as the nation faced economic collapse following Taliban takeover in August, 2021, BBC reported. Over half of Afghanistan’s population facing food insecurity in 2022, according to the the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Foreign donations, which accounted for nearly half of the economy’s GDP, stopped abruptly when the Taliban stepped into power.

In this photograph taken on August 24, 2022, a chicken vendor drinks tea as he waits for customers in front of his shop in a market near the former US military base in Bagram. – The US departure from Bagram has also seen the collapse of the economy same-named nearby town, an illustration of how Afghanistan’s fortunes were so heavily tied to the war and foreign aid. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

“It was decided that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce should progressively take control of the remaining military bases of the foreign forces with the intention of converting them into special economic zones,” said Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, acting deputy prime minister for economic affairs, according to BBC. (RELATED: Taliban Bans Afghan Women From Higher Education)

“Pilot operations” will turn bases in Kabul and northern Afghanistan into economic zones, chief Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told VOA News. Bagram is among the bases slated for the new project, Mujahid also confirmed. Formerly the largest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan, Bagram was central to U.S. planning and operations countering al-Qaida operatives and Taliban militants, according to CNBC and VOA News.

The newly announced economic project follows a deal struck by China with Taliban leadership to extract oil from the Amu River Oil Basin. The contract represents the Taliban government’s first international energy deal, awarding a 15% royalty fee to the Taliban administration and starting with 1,000 tons per day.