Joining Forces to Rebuild Afghanistan
“From their headquarters on the road from Kabul to Kandahar, in the heart of Pashtun-dominated Afghanistan, more than 100 Turkish civilians plan a more prosperous future for a province whose industrial base consists of little more than a neglected marble quarry.
The Turkish Provincial Reconstruction Team, or PRT, works out of Wardak province. As part of the NATO led International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, the team has rebuilt a mosque, opened a maternity clinic and trained scores of Afghan police officers. Turkish investment in this region west of Kabul has totaled more than $20 million.
But Turkey’s ambitions are larger. Enlisting farmers who scratch out a meager living growing apples, maize and wheat on the province’s rocky soil, the Turkish team has opened an experimental farm to grow saffron. The spice, made up of delicate flower filaments laboriously collected by hand, has earned the name “red gold” for its lofty price — $500 to $5,000 per pound, based on the quality.
In a country that naysayers complain breeds little but fratricidal strife and opium poppies, saffron would provide a model crop for Afghans struggling with subsistence...”
Excerpt from per Concordiam Staff, “Joining Forces to Rebuild Afghanistan,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 1, No. 3, 2010: 40-43.
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