Afghanistan Plans an Exemplary “Economic Miracle”
The Ibn Sina Research and Development Center sponsored an extraordinary conference in Kabul on Nov. 6-8, focused on the rapid economic development of the country (cf. SAS 45/23). Over 500 people attended, including officials from the ministries of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and a wide spectrum of Afghan and international experts (including 80 women). Day-long workshops took place on Nov. 7 in eight basic areas: agriculture and water, health, energy, industry and labor, credit and national banking, transportation, education, and culture.
Marcia Merry Baker was part of the seven-member delegation of the international Schiller Institute which participated in the workshops. She filed the following report, which is taken from an article to be published in Executive Intelligence Review.
The Kabul conference comes in the midst of progress on certain major, transformational infrastructure and related development projects already initiated by the I.E.A. government over the past two years, despite the acute lack of resources and the perpetration of sanctions against Afghanistan by the Western anti-development nations, and their seizure of $9 billion in Afghan national bank assets.
Among the outstanding examples of development initiatives: First, the Qush Tepa Canal for irrigating 550,000 hectares, now one-third constructed in northern Afghanistan. This will enable the nation to be self-sufficient in grain when it is completed, perhaps by 2027. Secondly, the Wakan Corridor highway construction is underway, in the far northeast, to the China border, replacing an unpaved, treacherous route with a modern roadway. Third, national opium poppy cultivation went down 95% over the 2022-2023 crop season.
Thus, the remarkable conference discussion adds to the focus and momentum of the orientation already in progress for development, under I.E.A. initiative. This process is rightly seen as that which can make “an economic miracle.” Though there has been no formal announcement, it can be said Afghanistan now ranks in the forefront, even a model in many respects, of the impetus for development expressed by the Global Majority internationally.
Mr. Fatah Raufi, the Moderator of the three-day conference, is a founding member and one of the co-leaders of the Ibn Sina Research and Development Center, sponsor of the Kabul conference. He and fellow Afghan emigres, Daud Azimi and Mirwais Popal, soon after August 2021, initiated active discussion and support for their homeland to further its economic development in every way possible. They have worked together tirelessly on this shared goal.
Among their principal collaborators was the Schiller Institute, whose founder and chair Helga Zepp-LaRouche had already issued a call in October, 2021, for an international “Operation Ibn Sina” effort to support emergency health care, food and interventions to relieve the immediate hardship, and to build the economy of Afghanistan at that time.
The 11th century namesake, Ibn Sina, is the universally esteemed and beloved physician and thinker, whose family is from the northern Afghanistan region. This great Islamic figure inspires hope at a time of deep suffering after 40 years of terrible, wrongful occupation and warfare in Afghanistan.
In November, 2022, collaborators in the Operation Ibn Sina effort issued a 90-page report on economic development in Afghanistan, done in conjunction with the Schiller Institute, for circulation as a pre-conference discussion document, among friends of Afghanistan, inside the nation, and the world over. In the ensuing months, the Ibn Sina R & D Center was formed.