Dozens of workers at the Ghori Cement Factory, one of Afghanistan’s largest manufacturing plants, in northern Baghlan province have been dismissed after the Taliban brought new changes in the structure of the factory.
Merajuddin, who has worked at the factory for six years, said that the Taliban dismissed him recently.
“I worked in different parts of the factory for six years, but now they dismissed me and made me unemployed under conditions that finding a new job is very difficult, the current winter is harsh, and finding food [for my family] is also difficult,” Merajuddin said.
Merajuddin is not the only victim of the Taliban’s shake-up, more than 90 workers of the Ghori Cement Factory have been dismissed over the past four months, according to him.
Mohammad Zahir, who has worked in the stone crushing department of the factory for years, said: “We were told that there are not many people needed in this department. You should return to your homes until further notice, we will inform you [if you were needed to return to work].”
Around 3,000 workers were employed at the Ghori Cement Factory but the Taliban has systematically been dismissing between two and three workers a day for a few months.
The first Ghori Cement Factory, which produces up to 400 tons of cement a day, started operating in 1962 with the help of Czechoslovakian experts.
Ghori Cement, which was famous for its quality, had been supplying domestic and foreign markets.
The factory stopped its operations in 1984 due to the war in the country and resumed operations four years later. The factory continued to produce 200 tons of cement per day for 20 years.
The second Ghori Cement Factory started operating in 2012 with a capacity of 1,000 tons per day.
The factory continued operations at its maximum capacity until the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021. The Taliban then reduced the salaries of the employees and decreased the production level.
Following the Taliban takeover, the workers and technical employees of the factory were gradually dismissed and the salaries of the remaining workers also decreased. The factory now produces only half of what it produced in the past.