Ahmad Masood A worker takes a break at a cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 19, 2016. 
Ahmad Masood Men work at a cement factory in Jabal Saraj, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. 
Ahmad Masood Dadullah works at a cement plant in Jabal Saraj, Afghanistan, April 19, 2016.
Ahmad Masood Workers sign attendance sheets as they arrive for work at a cement factory in Jabal Saraj, Afghanistan, April 19, 2016.
Ahmad Masood Workers operate heavy machinery at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Afghanistan, April 19, 2016.
Ahmad Masood A worker at the Jabal Saraj cement factory poses for a photograph, Afghanistan, April 19, 2016.
Ahmad Masood Workers break rocks at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Afghanistan, April 19, 2016. 
Ahmad Masood A worker shovels coal at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Afghanistan, April 19, 2016. 
Ahmad Masood Workers wait for lunch at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Afghanistan, May 8, 2016. 
Ahmad Masood A worker peers at an oven through a small hole at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Afghanistan, April 19, 2016.
Ahmad Masood A man works in a laboratory at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Afghanistan, April 19, 2016. 
Ahmad Masood A worker holds a cement sample in a laboratory at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Afghanistan, April 19, 2016. 
Ahmad Masood A cook (center) prepares lunch for workers at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Afghanistan, May 8, 2016.
Ahmad Masood A man works at the Jabal Saraj cement factory in Afghanistan, April 19, 2016. 
Ahmad Masood The Jabal Saraj cement factory in Afghanistan, April 19, 2016.

Afghanistan's Concrete Plans

Reviving the Cement Industry

Afghanistan's first cement factory, located just outside of Kabul, was built by the Czechs in 1957 and shut down by the Taliban in 1995. Two months ago, it reopened with little notice after two decades of neglect. Remarkably, the outdated machinery was still functional, able to grind limestone into dust and churn out 100 tons of cement a day. That is no small feat for a Cold War-era plant, even if its output is dwarfed by the millions that Pakistan and Iran produce. Still, its value is worth more than its immediate profits. It has provided 150 new jobs within the factory walls and 5,000 more, indirectly. The domestic demand for cement, according to Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines, is "huge," not to mention the six million tons it currently imports and hopes one day to replace with a more homemade variety.

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