Rising prices and closing banks add to Kabul’s misery

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A member of the Taliban forces guards a checkpoint in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 17, 2021. REUTERS / Stringer NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

KABUL, Aug.22 (Reuters) – A week after the Taliban’s lightning strike of Kabul, a growing number of people in the Afghan capital face a daily struggle to cope with their job cuts, with banks still closed and rising food prices.

The thousands of people gathered outside the airport entry points and fighting for seats on flights departing from Kabul provided the most vivid picture of the unrest in the city since the fall of the government-backed government. the West.

But as the days go by, daily food and rent worries add to uncertainty in a country whose fragile economy has been crushed by the loss of international support.

“I am totally lost, I don’t know what to think about first, my safety and survival or feed my children and my family,” said a former policeman, now in hiding, who lost the salary of $ 260 per month that previously supported his wife and four children.

Like many lower-level government workers, who often went long periods of time without being paid, he hasn’t even received that in the past two months.

“I live in a rented apartment, I haven’t paid the owner for three months,” he said.

During the week he said he tried to sell a few rings and a pair of earrings belonging to his wife, but like many businesses the gold market was closed and he couldn’t find buyer.

“I am very helpless and I don’t know what to do.”

Even before the Taliban surged into the city last Sunday, the situation had deteriorated, with the rapid advance of insurgents through provincial towns causing the value of the local Afghan currency to drop against the dollar and pushing up prices. basic foodstuffs.

The prices of staples like flour, oil and rice rose 10-20% in a matter of days, and with banks still closed, many people were unable to access their savings. With Western Union offices also closed, remittances from overseas have also dried up.

“It’s all because of the dollar situation. There are a few grocery stores open but the bazaars are empty,” said a former government employee who is in hiding today for fear of Taliban retaliation.

As trafficking resumed across major land borders into neighboring Pakistan, severe drought conditions across the country have exacerbated the hardships many people face and have pushed thousands to cities in an attempt to survive in tents and makeshift shelters.

On Sunday, international aid groups said the suspension of commercial flights to Afghanistan meant there was no way to get supplies of medicine and other aid.

Today, the difficulties are spreading more and more to the cities, hitting the lower middle classes who had seen their living standards improve in the two decades since the Taliban came to power.

” Everything is finished. It was not just the government that fell, it was thousands of people like me whose lives depended on a monthly salary of around 15,000 afghanis ($ 200), ”said a government employee who did not did not want to be quoted by Name.

“We are already in debt because the government has not paid our salaries for two months,” he said. “My elderly mother is sick, she needs medicine, and my children and my family need food. God help us.”

($ 1 = 86.0000 Afghans)

Kabul staff report; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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