Kabul’s antique dealers fall victim to the economic crisis

Antique dealers and jewelers in Kabul’s Shar-e-Naw have seen a significant drop in business over the past two years and say sales have not been this bad in over 20 years.

In fact, one shop owner said business hasn’t been this slow in almost 50 years and attributed the situation to the country’s economic crisis and to the lack of foreigners buying from them.

These shop owners sell antiques, carpets, leather bags and silver jewelry. For years, these dealers drew locals and foreigners and these antique market streets in the city center were a hive of activity.

Now, businesses are struggling and shop owners say they are worried they might be forced to close as they have not seen customers for months.

One shop owner is Mohammad Fahim Naimi, who has been selling Afghanistan-made jewelry and antiques for almost 50 years.

He said he has kept his shop going throughout this time and has seen various governments and regimes come and go – but “the market has never been as quiet and colorless as in the last two years.”

Some shop owners said they have not had a single customer in months and because of this many of the shops have been forced to close due to high rent and taxes.

They said if the situation continues, a huge sector of the country’s economy will be paralyzed and the remaining shops will be forced to close.

Afghanistan’s traditional handicrafts, including jewelry, leather bags, and handmade coats and jackets among many other goods have for decades been popular buys among locals and foreign nationals.

Unique jewelry pieces with gemstones, including emeralds, rubies and lapis lazuli have also proven to be extremely popular over the years and have been an integral part of the local economy. But now, as millions of people across the country battle poverty, these craftsmen and dealers can only hope for an improvement in the country’s economy.