Afghanistan: Three-day handicraft exhibition held in Balkh

MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan — A three-day handicraft exhibition showcasing local products has been inaugurated in Balkh Province, aiming to promote domestic products.

Organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the exhibition features 130 booths, with 80 of them run by women. The ILO office in Afghanistan stated that the goal is to support Afghan citizens, particularly artisans, and to implement programs that empower women and girls.

Ramin Behzad, head of the ILO in Afghanistan, highlighted the organization’s efforts over the past three years, saying, “The ILO has served over 28,000 people in northern Afghanistan and provided direct financial support to more than 100 small and medium-sized enterprises, creating and improving nearly 10,000 jobs in the region.”

Participants in the exhibition praised the initiative, emphasizing its role in familiarizing people with local products and bolstering women’s economic activities. “Such programs are beneficial for making people aware of domestic products and strengthening the economic activities of women,” said Nagita Anwari, a booth operator. “Sales are good, thank God. Though the weather is hot and sweets don’t sell as well now, the market picks up when it gets cooler.”

Another exhibitor, Maryam Rahmati, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity: “Our products are from Tashkandi. We participated here through an international organization’s invitation. It is a great pleasure for us to be invited to this exhibition to sell our products.”

Khadim Mohammad Abid, a Taliban official from the Taliban-run Ministry of Industry and Commerce responsible for organizing exhibitions, stated that 50 domestic and international exhibitions are planned for this year. “In solar year 1403 (2024), we have planned 50 programs. One of these exhibitions is in Balkh, and others are planned for different provinces,” Abid said.

The exhibition will continue for two more days, offering a platform for local artisans to display and sell their handmade products.