Blacksmiths in the north-eastern province of Takhar say business has dropped off significantly in the past two years due to an increase in the price of raw materials and the crippled economy.
Ghulam Rabbani, a resident of Wursaj district in Takhar who has been in the business for decades, said the drop in business is unprecedented and that in all his years in the industry, he has never seen it this bad. He said while he has gone through tough periods over the years, it was never this bad – where he couldn’t afford to cover costs for his family.
“Over the past one and a half years, the prices of raw materials for the industry have increased many times over and this has damaged the market for our products,” said Rabbani.
Faisal, a blacksmith in the city of Taluqan, the capital of Takhar, said the market has also been swamped by imported tools, which has had a significant impact on their businesses.
“I have been in this business for the past 12 years. It was good in the past but now the market for the products is on the verge of collapse over the existence of imported tools,” said Faisal.
Takhar residents said the industry needs support as many families depend on the sector financially.
“I ask the Taliban government to support the ancient industry,” said Raz Mohammad, a Takhar resident who works in a blacksmith shop.
Due to the lack of business, many blacksmiths in Taluqan have been forced to close down and now only a few remain while blacksmiths in Khan Abad district in northeastern Kunduz province face the same problems.