This Wednesday, it is fulfilled a month since the Taliban took Kabul, and the rebels face great problems in their attempt to turn their blazing military victory into a lasting government in peacetime. While security has improved, the economy of Afghanistan it is in shambles despite hundreds of billions of dollars invested in development over the past two decades.
While much of the attention in the West is focused on whether the new Taliban government will deliver on its promises to protect women’s rights or offer refuge to militant groups like al Qaeda, for many Afghans the top priority is simple survival.
Drought and famine are causing thousands to leave the countryside and head for the cities, and the World Food Program he fears that food will run out by the end of the month, bringing 14 million people to the brink of starvation. “All the Afghans, the children, are hungry, they don’t have a bag of flour or cooking oil,” said Abdullah, a Kabul resident.
There are long lines at banks, where weekly withdrawal limits of $ 200 or 20,000 Afghan currencies have been imposed to protect the country’s dwindling reserves. All over Kabul, makeshift markets have sprung up where people sell household items for cash, though buyers are rare, Reuters reported.
Even with billions of dollars of foreign aid, the Afghan economy has struggled with growth that has not been able to keep up with the steady increase in population. Jobs are scarce and many government workers have been unpaid since at least July.
Although the end of the fighting seems welcomed by most people, any relief has been tempered by the near paralysis of the economy. “Security is quite good at the moment, but we are not gaining anything,” said a butcher in the Bibi Mahro area of Kabul, who did not want to give his name. “Every day, things get worse for us, more bitter. It’s a really bad situation.
Help and mistrust
Following the chaotic evacuation of Kabul by foreigners last month, the first aid flights have started arriving with the reopening of the airport. International donors have pledged more than $ 1 billion to avoid what the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, he warned that it could be “the collapse of an entire country.”
However, the global reaction to the government of hardliners and Taliban veterans announced last week has been half-hearted, and there have been no signs of international recognition or moves to unlock the more than $ 9 billion in foreign reserves held out. from Afghanistan.
Although the Taliban authorities have said that they do not intend to repeat the harsh fundamentalist regime of the previous government, overthrown by a campaign led by USA After the attacks of September 11, 2001, they have had a hard time convincing the outside world that they have really changed.
Widespread reports of the killing of civilians and journalists and others being beaten up, and doubts about whether women’s rights will actually be respected under the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic law, have undermined trust.
Authorities say the government is working to get services back up and running and the streets are now safe, but as the war recedes, solving the economic crisis looms as a bigger problem. «There are no more robberies. But there is no bread either, “said a merchant.