By: Siddieq Noorzoy, Ph.D
One of the greatest matters to remember about Daod Khan Shaheed was his keen interest in developing the Afghan economy to reduce reliance on foreign assistance.
The formulation of sound foundations for the economic and social sectors ( healthcare , education in particular) and creating a robust economy for the overall
development of Afghanistan were his aims. Two publications that came out during his presidency are important in this regard:
1) The two volume First Seven Year Plan 1976/77-1982/84. Volume I had detail discussions and Volume II was full of statistical data about the economy and the plan.
2) The publication of Mineral Resources of Afghanistan in 1975 which consisted of extensive surveys of all mineral wealth of Afghanistan.
I presented the details of this plan and discussed them at the annual meeting of the Middle East Association North America in November 1977
In New York and this was widely circulated. The review and discussion of the First Seven Year Plan are published in my recent book , The Afghan Economy During the Soviet War , April, 2016, chapter 3, ( the book is listed on Amazon, among other web sites ).
It is a great tragedy that this plan was not implemented due to the communist coup de tat of April, 1978 and then the Soviet invasion of December 1979 which brought much death and destruction.
The Seven year Plan had a general overall framework and plans for the major sectors of the Afghan economy in agriculture, manufacturing, service sector,
international trade, and rural development, as well as, for mineral development, and the transportation sector including a proposal for a railroad from Kabul to Islam Qala at the Iranian border. For more details see the review. There was a land reform policy in the agriculture sector and plans for heavy industries such as steel, petrochemicals and oil refinery in the manufacturing sector.
The book on the Mineral Resources of Afghanistan , has 419 pages and maps of mineral locations. It presented more than 1300 mineral resources including the much discussed metallic mineral Lithium which was discovered in 44 places throughout Afghanistan. It is very strange that since the US and British invasion of October 7, 2001 much has been said
about the existing of rich mineral resources of Afghanistan for the US to exploit creating the impression that these discoveries were made after the invasion.
But seldom one reads that these discoveries were made decades before and there were national Afghan plans for their development under the First Seven Year Plan, which Shaheed Doad Khan had launched. The US Geological Surveys since the invasion has remapped these earlier findings with maps with more details. There are reports by Afghans that some of these minerals are exploited illegally and taken out of Afghanistan by foreign forces. According to several Afghans Afghan TV stations have shown some of these reports especially around Musa Qala area in Helmand.
A summary of the mineral resources of Afghanistan is presented in Chapter 7, Table 3 of my book, The Afghan Economy During the Soviet War. This Table condenses the wealth of discoveries in numbers and kinds of minerals.
I hope these pieces of information help us appreciate the period of Daod Khan Shaheed as we remember the history of our beloved Afghanistan. Both of these important books belong in any library dedicated to Daod Khan Shaheed. We have a proud history of independence, and self-reliance which can be resuscitated once the war and occupation are ended.
In 1958 Daod Khan and Dr. Yusef had come to the US for generating support for Afghanistan. When they came to the Bay Area a number of us students at UC Berkeley went to visit them at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. In his talk Doad Khan made a statement which I have not forgotten. He said ‘throughout history Afghanistan has spent much of its resources to keep the country independent, and now we
must think about development of Afghanistan also’. This statement seemed to have been directed particularly at us as students working in different fields of knowledge. Afghanistan is in need of leadership to get the country out of war, crime and corruption, and occupation, the longest in the history of Afghanistan for the past 17 years. The goals for independence, self-reliance, economic development based on the resources of Afghanistan and eliminating corruption and crime and justice for all Afghans cannot be achieved under occupation and interferences by foreign countries in the affairs of Afghanistan. The country had a practicing democracy through the jerga system and parliamentary elections. The so called imported ‘democracy’ where votes are bought with foreign money was never acceptable and this points to something else that the US and other occupation forces do not understand rendering their policies a failure.
- Siddieq Noorzoy, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, Emeritus
P.S. Interested parties may want to read my article:
“ Afghanistan’s Wartime Economy 2001-2014…..”, posted on globalresearch.org, July 24, 2014.