UN kicks off construction of rug weaving centre in Jawzjan

By Muhammad Qasem

Residents of Aqcha district, Jawzjan province, hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 1 to launch construction work of the first rug processing centre in the district. [Social media]

Residents of Aqcha district, Jawzjan province, hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 1 to launch construction work of the first rug processing centre in the district. [Social media]

JAWZJAN -- To help support Afghanistan's economy, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has begun building Jawzjan province's first rug processing centre in Aqcha district.

Construction began on November 1 and is expected to be completed within six months, said Zabiullah Zahid, executive director of the Abid Afghan Co. in Jawzjan.

"This was a dream of rug weavers in Jawzjan, which fortunately became a reality," he told Salaam Times.

"Dozens of men and women in Aqcha district are busy weaving and producing rugs, and a processing centre was one of their main needs," he said.

Once completed, the centre will create 1,200 jobs, Zahid said.

"The centre, built on a 2,000-square-metre plot in Aqcha, will cost $150,000 (13 billion AFN) to build ... production, cutting and packaging will also take place in the centre," he said.

With the completion of the centre, all steps involved in the rug weaving industry will take place in Jawzjan, and rugs produced in Afghanistan will be exported from there, he added.

Rugs made in Afghanistan in the past have been shipped to Pakistan or Iran for processing.

Weavers welcome new centre

The rug weaving industry has been in decline in Jawzjan from the insecurity of recent years, and many weavers have quit the industry, say local rug weavers and traders.

"The processing centre will help the rug industry flourish again in Jawzjan, and the rug weavers who have quit the industry will return," said Safar Mohammad Turkman, 58, a rug weaver in Jawzjan province.

"We used to weave one ... rug per month and would sell it in the Aqcha district market."

Afghan rugs are generally 5 metres long and 3 metres wide.

The weavers' income was very good, he said.

"In the past year, our life has not been good and I have distanced myself from the rug industry," he said. "But I am happy that a centre is now being built and I will resume my work."

Partner organisations should support traders by establishing industrial parks, providing raw materials and wool washing equipment and creating a market for selling and buying rugs and other necessary materials, said Rabiullah Khaliqi, a carpet trader in Jawzjan.

"Most of our rug weavers and traders are faced with the challenge of a lack of raw materials and facilities to export rugs," he said. "If we get support in those areas, Afghan rugs will recapture their earlier position."

"Imports of wool and synthetic dye from Iran and Pakistan, which are [deceptively] sold as Belgian materials, have affected the quality of rugs and diminished their value," he said.

"The designs currently used in Afghan rugs do not have many fans in international markets, which is another factor in the declining export of Afghan rugs," he added.

Support for domestic products

Rug weaving is an old and valuable industry in Afghanistan. Rugs with special designs produced in the northern part of the country, however, have lost some of their popularity because of a lack of interest and economic problems.

Mohammad Shaker Akhtari, 46, a Jawzjan rug weaver, said all the hard work he and his peers do is in vain because of the import of low-quality Iranian rugs.

"Rugs we produce with our hands, incurring great expenses, are of higher quality than imported Iranian rugs, but customers buy Iranian rugs since they are cheaper," he said.

"The Afghan rug industry will go bankrupt if imports of Iranian rugs are not stopped," he added. "The government must address all issues faced by the rug industry to ensure its survival."

"Afghan rugs were exported to Europe, the United States, Canada, the Arab world and Asia until last year, but now exports have decreased," Akhtari said.

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This is the best report of the day. Thanks to UNHCR for creating such a program for the people. This way, not only local people got busy, but also the products made in this center and exported abroad keep the name of Afghanistan and Afghans alive. We have a proverb in Pashto that it is both a reward and a date.


Afghans should try to connect their country with Europe through Central Asia. Unless there is a global market for Afghanistan's goods, domestically produced goods will not be sold at a reasonable price. Afghans should curve this in stone. Pakistan is the enemy of Afghanistan. This is not just a so-called claim. There are dozens and hundreds of reasons which prove that Pakistan is the enemy of Afghanistan. An example is when the time for Afghanistan's fruits and vegetables arrives, and the fruits are exported to Pakistan, the government of Pakistan closes the gates on the Durand Line. Afghanistan's fruits and vegetables can be transported in trucks, causing millions of dollars in damage to Afghan business people. In the same way, fake medicines and other materials are sent to Afghanistan. Iran also does the same thing, but the hypocrisy of Pakistan is more than that of Iran.


The International Human Rights Watch says that Turkey treats Afghan asylum seekers inhumanely. Uma Sinclair Webb, head of the Turkish section of the mentioned organization, says that the Turkish police, after collecting Afghan asylum seekers in this country, forced them to sign the withdrawal documents. Then they are expelled from Turkish territory. This organization has chosen the title of its report as a quote from an Afghan asylum seeker: "Nobody asked me why I left Afghanistan." Afghan asylum seekers have complained to this organization that they have never been allowed to apply for asylum in Turkey. Turkish officials said that they have sent more than 50,000 Afghan refugees to Afghanistan this year and have prevented 20,000 Afghan asylum seekers from entering their territory. Along with Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, and Tajikistan have been misbehaving with Afghan refugees again and again after the re-establishment of the Taliban, and the Taliban have not raised their voices for the rights of asylum seekers at least as much as they should. Afghanistan is under the control of Pakistan. Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan all have senior diplomats in Afghanistan, but only the Pakistani side has sometimes shared the problems of Afghan refugees. If the Taliban are autonomous, why don't they share it with them, and why don't the Taliban ask about the situation of Afghan travelers?


Starting construction of the carpet weaving center in Aqcha district of Jawzjan province is considered one of the best works of the United Nations. Carpet weaving is an old industry in the northern provinces of Afghanistan. In the years when there was war in the northern provinces of Afghanistan, the carpet weaving industry and carpet weavers of our country migrated to our neighboring country Pakistan. The government of Pakistan welcomed the carpet weavers, and they took them in their arms. They prepared a work environment for these carpet weavers and gave them land so that they can build houses for themselves. Our carpets were exported to European and American countries and Arab countries through Pakistan, and this caused benefits for Pakistan. With the establishment of this United Nations project, we Afghans can supply the carpets made by our country to the world markets, and we can strengthen the economy of our country and continue to grow our and our family’s economy. With regards Mudaser