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 Remarkably, the outdated machinery was still functional, able to grind limestone into dust and churn out 100 tons of cement a day.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.