Violence, hunger and fear: Afghanistan under the Taliban

And from September to December 2021, around 37% of Afghan households did not have enough money for food, while 33% could afford food, but nothing more, according to the World Bank.

Describing Afghanistan’s economic outlook as “austere” in its latest overview of the country, published in April, the World Bank said the war in Ukraine, combined with sanctions against the country, “could have significant exacerbating effects via a increased prices for imported food and fuel. ”

The implosion of the economy “really affected my business,” said Abdul, 30, a construction company owner from Takhar province. He added that he had been forced to lay off 75 of his 100 employees in recent months.

“It is possible that my company will go bankrupt because its existence directly depends on construction projects,” he said. “So if people only think about their day-to-day survival, we could collapse like other businesses.”

“There are a lot of unemployed, and of course if there is no job, there is no income,” added Abdul, who is married and has a 2-year-old son.

In Kabul, Samira, 25, said she saw her once comfortable life turned upside down.

“Everything is on the market, but prices have gone up a lot,” said Samira, who teaches English and Islamic studies at one of the few private elementary schools still open.

Samira, who lives with her mother and sister, said 10,000 Afghans, or about $110, used to pay for all the food needed to feed her family for a month. Today he only pays for rice and flour.

And the signs of deprivation surround her, she says.

“I see hundreds of beggars asking for money,” she said. “The unemployment rate is too high and a number of people are known to have sold body parts, such as their kidneys or worse, their sons and daughters, to survive.”

I hope to be tough

After the Taliban came to power, Abdul said many people, including himself, had hoped that corrupt officials would be expelled and the Taliban would form a coalition government. Instead, the new regime is made up solely of members of the militant group.

Rather than focusing on “the economy and other issues, like being a truly independent country,” he said they seemed to focus on minor issues like the length of men’s beards.

He added that he was increasingly concerned about the band’s hard line, including its decision to go back on his promise that high schools remain open to girls and their decree that all Afghans women wear clothes from head to toe in public.

Women are also discouraged from working and asked to wear full outfits and not leave the house without a male chaperone.

Samira also said she was “deeply concerned” by these decrees. She added that they reminded her of the last time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001, when they banned female education and most jobs.

Her students, she said, were “pretty desperate because they can’t see any future on their own.”

International response

The Taliban’s increasingly tough policies have disrupted efforts to “gain recognition from potential international donors at a time when the country is mired in a deepening humanitarian crisis,” said Michael Kugelman, deputy director and senior partner. for South Asia at the Wilson Center, a Washington-based think tank.

The decision not to allow girls to return to school “has been a real blow and a surprise to many Western capitals and many donors”, he said, adding that it made “even less likely that the international community will provide the kind of financial assistance that the Taliban seem to want, namely assistance that goes beyond humanitarian aid.

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