News / Asia

    In Afghanistan, A Surplus of Armored Vehicles

    In Afghanistan, A Surplus of Armored Vehicles Ahead of NATO Pullouti
    December 11, 2013 12:15 PM
    As foreign combat troops prepare to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, thousands of soldiers, aid workers and diplomats are shutting down local operations. In Kabul, some Afghan businesses are already feeling the pinch. Maeva Bambuck speaks with armored car dealers who say their customers are leaving town and leaving behind their expensive vehicles.
    Maeva Bambuck
    As foreign combat troops prepare to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, thousands of soldiers, aid workers and diplomats are shutting down local operations. In Kabul, some Afghan businesses are already feeling the pinch. Armored car dealers say their customers are leaving town, and leaving behind their expensive vehicles.
    Nicole Stroop is with IATS, a company in Kabul that fixes armored vehicles. Several years ago this business barely existed in Afghanistan. But the presence of thousands of troops and foreign workers has made cars that can resist land mines and gunshots a necessity.
    "A lot of broken side windscreens, a lot of broken side windows, due to anything from bullets to rocks thrown at the vehicle," Stroop said.
    Her clients are security contractors, diplomats and even aid groups who rushed into Afghanistan at the start of the war. But foreign forces are now leaving, along with her customers.
    "Their contracts are simply ending,” sahe said. “So we've lost a couple of clients through that but it's just the nature of the business."
    As foreigners leave, they are selling off their expensive vehicles, bringing prices down said auto dealer Said Bashir with the BM Group, a logistics, supplies and construction firm based in Kabul.
     “It used to be around $180,000 now it's around $130-$140… the new one," he said.
    The Afghan dealer says the market is now flooded. There are few Afghans with the cash to buy armored cars, and even fewer with the right paperwork.
    "Italians, the Italian military they used to lease it and now they are leaving, they are terminating their leases and businessmen are trying to rent it to foreigners," said Bashir.
    Part of the problem is finding authorized customers. While these businesses once operated in a lawless land, they must now only sell to buyers with the proper paperwork. Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Siddiqi said the police have been cracking down on offenders.
    "We found out that some people are not registering the vehicles with the government,” he said. “So that's the problem. They must pay taxes and have the proper license to use those vehicles in cities and provinces.”
    Such regulations and uncertainty about whether foreign troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014 create problems for many local businesses, says Chevrolet salesman Yama Yousufi.
    “If they go from Afghanistan it will be a negative point about business in Afghanistan. Not just business but everything in Afghanistan,” he said.
    Yousufi says customers are holding off on new purchases until they know whether President Hamid Karzai will sign the deal to allow foreign troops to operate in the country after next year.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.