Taliban attack makes Attock's carpet industry bleed

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Attock, July 7 (ANI): Apart from being responsible for the current dismal security situation of Pakistan, the Taliban has also forced Attock's famous handmade carpet industry to the brink of collapse.

The carpet industry is suffering from lack of foreign buyers and tourists, leading to a 50 per cent decline in the sales.

The Attock carpets which once sold for around 120 to 150 dollars per square meter, are now unlikely to fetch half that amount.

"At the current price I cannot meet my labour and raw material (wool thread) expenses besides charges for dying and washing the carpets," said Akhtar Afghani, a carpet trader.

"Over 10000 square meter carpet had been lying in store due to non-availability of buyer, where as middle men not offered actual price of it and want to purchase it less the manufacturing cost," he added.

Afghani said many of his fellow manufactures have left their inherited carpet manufacturing businesses and moved to other sectors, such as selling dry fruit, shoes, clothes and Chinese made toys and electronic items.

Attock became a hub of carpets industry after thousands of Afghan refugees fled the Russian occupation of Afghanistan to settle there during 1980s.

Earlier, only Afghans living in Attock used to make carpets, but eventually the native locals also entered the business.

Thereafter, big manufacturers based in Lahore and Karachi set up large-scale plants in the region in hope of cashing-in on the skilled labour force here.

The exponential boom of the industry, however, has been hit by the recent security problems.

When Taliban militants started targeting carpet manufacturers, the visitors stopped coming here. Various plants had to be shut down.

The final nail in the coffin came when Taliban started expressly targeting foreigners, and claimed Malakand division. (ANI)

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