Business Opportunities in Post-ISAF Afghanistan

Francisco A. Laguna & Wojciech Kornacki

Post-International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Afghanistan is expected to experience significant civilian-sector growth. Not since the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 have there been so many business opportunities for the international community.

Essentially, Afghanistan has been in a state of constant civil war, and its natural resources and infrastructure have remained out of reach for foreign investment. The government is ready to change that. Since 2001, the vast majority of reconstruction projects has been directed toward military objectives. As the ISAF prepares to depart, Afghanistan is focusing on opening its economy. (See blog Recent Legal Changes in Afghanistan Affecting Your Business)

Most experts agree that Afghanistan will experience slow but steady growth and stability in the near future. As long as the international community and the Afghan government are capable of containing the Taliban and managing the country’s internal corruption, the Afghan economy will grow. Many international companies and countries are poised to invest heavily in Afghanistan to assist in exploiting and exporting its natural resources, including iron, copper, gold, rare earth elements, natural gas, petroleum, and many other metals and minerals.

The growth of the Afghan civilian sector, combined with the long-term, ongoing foreign aid will hopefully ensure that Afghanistan will not revert to civil war. New investors seizing this critical moment in the history of Afghanistan will play a major part in cementing the Afghan future.

map1The country is also seeking to take full advantage of its strategic geographical location for the trans-shipment of goods. Afghanistan borders Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to the north, all of which are directly connected to Russia. Afghanistan has already experienced improved trade relations with Russia, and they will only increase. To the east and south, it borders Pakistan and India. With time, Afghanistan may become India’s window to Russia and Europe: it would be cheaper and quicker for India to ship goods north through central Asia.

Blueprints for new pipelines in the region show Afghanistan benefitting from one, and possibly, two major pipelines extending from the oil fields of Turkmenistan to natural resource-starved India and Pakistan. Courtesy of U.N. Cartographic Section.

mineralsIn addition, most of the country’s surveyed natural resources are located near its northern border where a fairly well developed railway system already exists between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. This creates tremendous opportunities in terms of construction, freight, and security.

Afghanistan is currently undergoing significant political, military and economic changes. These changes create many lucrative opportunities in mining, transportation, civil aviation, construction, and many other industries. If you would like to harness these opportunities contact TransLegal. We specialize in laying the legal groundwork for your international business needs.

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