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Chinese businessmen experienced the "changing weather" in Afghanistan: I was still in Kabul and saw and heard this

By: Aug. 18,2021

"The sun is rising again. Kabul is sunny today. The sun is shining." Yu Minghui, a Chinese businessman who has been engaged in foreign trade in Afghanistan for 20 years, wrote on his wechat moments on Wednesday, "My colleagues look at the street. There are not many Taliban vehicles passing by. The coach was busy again, and the previous days are different from the outside. The breakfast cart of the mobile stallkeepers came again, calling out to pedestrian customers. I'm sure he's happy that no one will be tipping him for not having a license at least for a while."

On The 15th local time, the weather changed in Kabul. Afghan Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naim has announced that taliban fighters have entered and taken control of the Afghan capital, Kabul, and that the war in his country is over.

Yu minghui told China Business News that after a Taliban spokesman announced that the war in Afghanistan was over, he realized: "Everything seems to be settled."

The Situation in Afghanistan and its capital, Kabul, has suddenly changed and is extremely complex and severe, the Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan said in a statement on Monday. The Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan is in close contact with Chinese citizens there, informing them of the security situation and doing its best to provide assistance. So far, we have not received any reports of Chinese casualties in Afghanistan.

Mr. Yu is now in a safe house provided by friends in Kabul, which is also part of the plan. He said that since The 15th, Kabul's Chinatown has been safe and all the Chinese he contacted have been safe. "Everyone has no problem eating and drinking, but the local Internet is not very good, and we need to guard against petty theft," he said.

"At the moment, our business in Afghanistan is not affected very much. We plan to close our shops for three days." Yu Minghui said to the First business reporters.

▲ China Town, Afghanistan

"Ten days ago, we started making emergency plans."

Since the beginning of this month, the Taliban have moved with astonishing speed across Afghanistan, sweeping across the country in less than 10 days.

Yu minghui recalled the details of the recent past. He said that around 3 p.m. on The 15th, he only heard sporadic gunfire outside his window. "I also saw birds walking on the balcony and cars coming and going in the square."

But for that crucial night on the 15th, what impressed Yu minghui most was the continuous roar in the sky. "American transport planes and helicopters did not stop overnight." "It does affect rest, and there is no compensation," he said.

That night, in The Chinatown where Yu minghui worked, the staff on duty was on guard all night. "The security on the upper and lower floors was to keep out thieves and looters," he recalls. "Local friends had alerted them to looters posing as Taliban."

"In Afghanistan, there are people who could take advantage of this and they are the ones we are focusing on. Ten days ago, we started making emergency plans." "Before noon on The 15th, we started buying locks to lock the doors of our shops," yu said. We have 60 or 70 stores and there were only five locks left, so we rushed to other stores to buy all five locks."

"At present, protective nets have been put up in Chinatown. At the Chinatown square, four to five people were in charge of riot control. The important thing is to prevent and deter the outside world." He said.

Leave or stay?

Kabul airport is a different story from the more peaceful downtown. According to foreign media, at least thousands of Afghans and foreigners began to pour into Kabul International Airport, which is about 5 kilometers north of the center of Kabul, from Friday night.

For Yu minghui, leaving Afghanistan was not easy. "The project has already signed contracts with local companies, and now it is not very far away." He said.

Yu minghui has been doing business in Afghanistan for 20 years since 2001. According to reports, In 2019, Kabul set up A Chinatown, this year has introduced a series of projects including solar street lights, solar light, kitchen appliances, chemical supplies, etc., each factory has entered the stage of production and commissioning. Meanwhile, there is an industrial park in China Town that contains some of the materials needed for these factories.

"In ten days, the grapes in Afghanistan will be off the market. At this point, we could sell plastic frames for grapes." Yu minghui said.

"In the past, we might have done business with local Afghan customers on a one-off basis, and what we sold might have been considered 'street goods'. But that's not the case now. Over the past decade or so, the trade relationship between Chinese businessmen and local Afghan customers has changed to a certain extent." "Right now, we have a project in the pipeline with the Afghan hydro corporation," he said. "If we have a contract, we can't just throw it away. It's not just about one company.

As for how to deal with the current business risks, Yu Minghui said that the store will be closed for three days from The 15th, which is the most direct and obvious impact on the business. "As for the future, we are preparing all plans, we will wait and see."

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