Afghanistan makes almost nothing else

by Fox News Radio's Alastair Wanklyn in Kabul

If Ford and General Mills built America, will Herat Ice Cream do the same for Afghanistan?

The tasty snack is one of Afghanistan's few brands. Almost everything else is imported.

"This is still a contract-driven economy," says one ambassador in Kabul. "There are aid donations but zero investment."

Afghanistan exports only drugs, rugs, and trouble.

Families weave carpets, which can sell for high prices around the world.

Farmers are prolific and some export animal hides, nuts and dried fruit. But they make dizzier profits supplying most of the world's heroin.

Almost nothing else carries a Made in Afghanistan tag. Annual exports are less than Haiti or North Korea.

But Afghanistan's economy is expanding.

It has a lively construction industry; there are more than 12 million registered cellphones, almost half the population; and there is talk of untapped subsoil minerals.

So if Afghans are getting wealthier, the prospects are good for Herat Ice Cream.

Just don't hold out for foreign investment.

"I know of one Italian investor who looked at producing marble here, but..." The foreign ambassador is too polite to finish his sentence.