AFGHANOTES #8

In order to Flee, Afghans Are Even Selling their Carpets

This Kabul’s flea market has been packed since the arrival of the Taliban. People are selling their belongings on the street to buy food or go abroad. We talked with a man who had bought all the furniture of a household for 850 euros.

AFGHANOTES is the testimony of a team of Afghan journalists reporting the events and daily life in Afghanistan for Outriders since the Taliban swept into Kabul on August 15, 2021.

KABUL, Afghanistan –  A second-hand outdoor bazaar with hardly any customers has become a busy business in recent weeks since the Taliban came back in power. Used dishes, tea glasses and plastic flower vases are sold on this Kabul street. There are also carpets, clothes, a teddy bear and a soccer ball that belonged to a child.

We are at a bustling market for second-hand home appliances in western Kabul. In the afternoon, buyers and sellers gather in this street. Items are being sold for half of their price.

People are selling furniture, personal belongings, and even appliances, to get money to buy food. Or like Ali, who used to work as a karate teacher and is selling some dresses of his daughters to get money to emigrate abroad and find a job, “to Pakistan or Iran,” he explains.

“I bought these carpets in exchange for between 3,000 and 4,000 Afghanis per item” (about 35 euros),” says Reza, a 35-year-old man who sells and buys second-hand stuff. He says that nowadays, “people accept this deal because they need the money and have no other way.”

Economic activities have stalled and an uncertain future awaits the people of Afghanistan. 

Everywhere in Kabul, you can see advertisements for buying and selling home appliances.

Items purchased over the years for the welfare of families are now being sold to cover the cost of the escape.

A carpet bought for thirty thousand Afghanis (325 euros) now has no buyer at 20% of its price. A homeless person does not think about heating for the winter.

Some people in this street are dealers. We talked to a man who had bought all the household furniture for eighty thousand afghanis (about 850 euros).

Most sellers are those who want to leave Afghanistan. But some people have sold their furniture just to buy groceries and cover their daily expenses.

International aid organizations are trying to deliver aid to the Afghan people without a recognized government. However, the amount of this aid is limited, and there are many obstacles from the country’s new rulers to distribute the aid.Selling secondhand furniture is a sign of the vision that the people of Afghanistan have for their future.

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