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Latest update : 2013-01-07

Afghanistan: what does the future hold?

Will Afghanistan be economically viable when the NATO-led coalition force leaves? Despite the challenges, many Afghans have managed to launch their own companies, with varying degrees of success. Our reporters travelled to Herat, the country’s third-largest city and industrial hub.

We had two aims in filming this report: to show the fragility of the Afghan economy after ten years of foreign boots on the ground, but also to present a different image of the country from the daily violence - be it a football championship or a motorcycle manufacturer.

We travelled to the western city of Herat, a former stop on the Silk Road and once again the beating heart of Afghan commerce. There, we visited the assembly line for the three-wheel motorcycles which can be seen all over Afghanistan’s potholed roads. These peculiar vehicles are called Zarang, named after the first company to manufacture them in Afghanistan. The brand has become a symbol of hope in the country's economic renewal.

The Afghan professional football league also sprang naturally to mind. This was its first edition, opposing multi-ethnic teams from all over the country. The final took place in Kabul’s Olympic Stadium, the same place where the Taliban carried out public hangings. “Even as Afghanistan lives in difficult times there are signs that some things are changing for the better”, said senior US diplomat Stephen McFarlane, who came to watch the final.

By Sylvain LEPETIT , Vikram Singh

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