Economic crisis facing Taliban a month after the fall of Kabul

FILE PHOTO: Taliban forces patrol in front of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul
FILE PHOTO: Taliban forces patrol in front of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul
FILE PHOTO: Taliban forces patrol in front of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 2, 2021. Reuters/Stringer/File photo

September 15, 2021

(Reuters) – A month after capturing Kabul, the Taliban face tough problems as they seek to turn their power military victory into a permanent peacetime government.

After four decades of war and thousands of casualties, security has improved significantly, but Afghanistan’s economy has been devastated despite hundreds of billions of dollars in development spending over the past 20 years.

Drought and famine are driving thousands of cities across the country, and the World Food Program fears food may run out by the end of the month. 14 million people are on the verge of starvation.

While much attention in the West has focused on whether the new Taliban government will fulfill its promises of protecting women’s rights or sheltering terrorist groups such as al Qaeda, the main priority for many Afghans is simple survival.

“Every Afghan, child, they are hungry, they don’t have a single bag of flour or cooking oil,” said Abdullah, a Kabul resident.

Long lines still form outside banks, where a weekly withdrawal limit of $200, or 20,000 afghani, has been imposed to protect the country’s dwindling reserves.

Suddenly markets where people sell household goods for cash have spread to Kabul, although buyers are in short supply.

Even with billions of dollars in foreign aid, Afghanistan’s economy was struggling, with growth failing to keep pace with the steady increase in population. Jobs are scarce and many government employees have not been paid since at least July.

While most people have welcomed the end of the fighting, the almost shutdown of the economy has curtailed any respite.

A butcher in Kabul’s Bibi Mahro area, who declined to be named, said, “Security is pretty good at the moment, but we are not earning anything.” “Every day, things get worse for us, even more bitter. It’s a really bad situation.”

aid flights

First aid flights have resumed as the airport reopens, following Kabul’s chaotic foreign evacuation last month.

International donors have pledged more than $1 billion to stop UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warning that “an entire country could collapse”.

But the world’s response to the government of Taliban veterans and hardliners announced last week has been calm—2021-09-08, and there has been no international recognition or steps to unblock more than $9 billion in foreign reserves held outside Afghanistan. Signal not found.

Although Taliban officials have said they do not intend to repeat the hardline radical regime of the previous government, which was toppled by a US-led campaign following the September 11, 2001 attacks, they did not want to explain to the outside world. Have struggled that they have really changed. .

Widespread reports of civilian casualties have been beaten, and doubts about whether women’s rights will actually be respected under the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic law, have undermined confidence.

In addition, there has been a deep distrust of senior government figures such as the new Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, who has been designated a global terrorist by the United States with a $10 million bounty on his head.

To make matters worse for the Taliban, the movement had to fight speculation of deep internal divisions within its own ranks, denying the rumours their-deputy- prime minister-mullah-baradar-dead-2021-09-14 that deputy prime minister Abdul Ghani Baradar was killed in a shootout with Haqqani supporters.

Officials say the government is working to restart services and roads are now safe, but as the war subsides, the solution to the economic crisis is turning out to be a bigger problem.

“The theft has disappeared. But the roti has also disappeared,” said a shopkeeper.

(Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Mike Collett-White)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here