Afghanistan’s GDP is currently around 34 billion USD. Its GDP per capita is around 1,150 USD. Afghanistan has considerable mining potential. According to the government, the country has as much as 3 trillion USD worth of proven untapped mineral deposits. If this is correct then Afghanistan has one of the most valuable mining areas in the world. A US geological survey in 2006 estimated that Afghanistan also had 36 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Many Afghans rely on agriculture for their subsistence, however, this sector is extremely troubled. Just 12% of land in Afghanistan is arable and just six% is actively cultivated. There are some opportunities in trade, though. Trade with other countries presently stands at around 5 billion USD a year. Handmade rugs are one of the most popular export products from Afghanistan. Antique replicas are also popular, along with furs and leathers.
Nonetheless, Afghanistan’s economy remains very underdeveloped with limited economic opportunities. Afghanistan ranks 169th in terms of the United Nations’ Human Development Index and around 35% of the population is jobless. Expats tend to be employed in the international development sector if they are not working in their country’s embassy. Some expats work in the media domain. There may also be some opportunities working for security organizations.
Given the country’s unstable situation and underdeveloped economic state, work opportunities in Afghanistan are limited for foreigners and expats. The job market is very different compared with larger economies in the world. Most job opportunities for expats are limited to the international development sector. Often, these international organizations, if they are not sourcing locals for particular posts, will seek to offer a post to an individual before they arrive in Afghanistan. It is possible to find work after arriving in Afghanistan, but given the limited opportunities available it is more difficult to achieve this than in other countries.
Expats looking for job opportunities can try their luck on online job sites. One useful source, which mainly lists development-related jobs, is the website of the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief and Development. Although most of the listings are suitable for those with experience in the charity and NGO sector, other opportunities, for example working for local English-language media, are published on the website from time to time. Wazifa is another popular job listing site. English language newspapers, such as Afghanistan Times, may also be a source of information for jobs.
Both resident and non-resident Afghans as well as expats working in Afghanistan are subject to tax for all income that is derived from Afghan sources. Even when expats are paid outside of Afghanistan, they are subject to this income taxation. The first 5,000 AFN of a monthly income are not taxed. Any income above that but fewer than 12,500 AFN a month is taxed at 2% and the next 12,501-100,000 AFN at 10%. Any monthly income above 100,000 AFN is subject to an income tax of 20%.
When it comes to residential status in terms of taxation, the state uses a number of different factors to determine this. Firstly, for someone to be deemed a resident, their accommodation in Afghanistan needs to have been their primary home at any given time for the duration of the tax year. The individual should have been in Afghanistan for at least 183 days for the duration of the tax year (this does not have to be consecutive), or the individual will have worked for Afghan government for a time during the tax year in question.