Spring Wish denied as suicide bomber brings down Afghan juice empire

Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:09am EST
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By Michael Georgy

KABUL (Reuters) - When a Taliban suicide bomber killed two people on the edge of the Afghan capital this month, there was another casualty - a global fruit juice business optimistically called "Spring Wish" which provided work for thousands of farmers across the country.

Mustafa Sadiq's empire had been expanding healthily, bringing in badly needed foreign capital, before the attack inflicted the kind of financial loss cash-strapped Afghanistan can ill afford.

The pomegranate juice business was nearly wiped out in the split second it took the militant to detonate explosives in a truck parked near the factory on December 17.

Pieces of shredded metal were scattered everywhere. Chairs were hurled across the office where Sadiq had spent so much time figuring out how to beat the odds against decades of war, instability and hopelessness.

Sadiq was in Dubai drumming up new export deals when an assistant called with the bad news. The call that Sadiq said he did not get is also troubling him.

"So far no officials, for the sake of sympathy, have called us," Sadiq, 40, told Reuters, standing beside a year's supply of juice in containers that were ruined in the attack - nearly $10 million in losses overall.

"In this situation they should have called me and asked what kind of help they could provide. The agriculture, finance, commerce ministries. Nobody so far has visited or called."

The impact of the war, and expectations for the future, are often seen only through the eyes of Western or Afghan soldiers, or officials who point to the progress that has been made.   Continued...

An Afghan worker looks out from a window at a fruit factory which was destroyed by a car suicide bomb attack, in Kabul December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani