Carpets are seen at the Afghanistan Rug and Carpet Center show room in Kabul, Afghanistan April 1, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
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Sales of Afghanistan's ancient carpet-weaving industry have dropped by half in the past year as war with Taliban militants heats up and neighboring Pakistan clamps down on border traffic. Prized by buyers as much for their artistry as utility, carpets are still a chief export of the impoverished nation, but their share has shrunk to 6 percent from 27 percent within less than a decade.Carpets ranked fourth among Afghanistan's legal exports at $38 million in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, its Central Statistics Organization says.Traders from Pakistan can earn a premium ranging from 10 percent to 15 percent by buying Afghan carpets and re-exporting them, said Pervez Hussain, who owns a Pakistani retailer, Afghan Carpets.The industry spans many Arabic and Asian nations.But most Afghan carpets, best-known for their dark red color, are hand-woven in dense knot patterns and last longer than machine-made rugs using synthetic materials.
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