Without Jobs and Cash, Afghans Fear a Looming Financial Crisis 

“I can hardly have enough money for day to day expenses, let alone for winter,” says a man who used to work as a welder. The economy in Afghanistan was aid-dependent, and after the Taliban takeover, the prices have skyrocketed.

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 – Afghans line up in front of a bank for hours as they try to get cash after the Taliban impose a withdrawal cap. A Taliban flog some of the people who are waiting. There are queues like these all over Kabul. Along with the social crisis, Afghans worry about what may become a looming economic crisis.

Afghan families are running out of savings. In this market in Kabul, next to a stand where a vendor sells grapes and apples, some people explain that they are desperate, without jobs, without cash, many just wait at home. Next to it, baby clothes and sandals are sold. There are hardly any women on the street.

“I can hardly have enough money for day to day expenses, let alone for winter,” says Mohammad Nabi, a man who used to work as a welder. “During the past month, life has become harder and harder,” he adds. He has six children. Three boys and three girls. Before the Taliban seized Kabul they were at school and university. Now they are at home.

“They have sent an order to working women not to return to their work until further notice,” says Shekiba Akbari, a representative of people from the 6th district of Kabul city, who explains that “people’s financial situation is below zero. They don’t have food to eat.”

“Although a general amnesty has been announced, people do not dare return to work,” says Mohammad Dawood Nazari, a Kabul resident.

With the fall of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, many people in Kabul lost their jobs.

A large part of Afghanistan’s economy depended on foreign aid, which was used for the day-to-day running of the government. After the Taliban takeover, donor countries, the IMF and World Bank have stopped funding Afghanistan, which has been one of the most aid-dependent nations for the last two decades.

Thousands of former security forces and thousands of former government employees are now jobless. Some of them have not been paid in the last months.

Industrial investors left the country.

Women are barred from working. Many of them were the sole breadwinner for their families.

People in Afghanistan are now in a state of great confusion. What will be their future?

On September 9th, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ms Deborah Lyons, warned of a “looming crisis” in the country due to “billions of assets and donor funds have been frozen by members of the international community.”

“The understandable purpose is to deny these funds to the de facto Taliban administration. The inevitable effect, however, will be a severe economic downturn that could throw many more millions into poverty and hunger,” she said.

Afghans are trying to adjust their expenses with the new situation. It could lead the country to a major social and economic crisis. Meanwhile, posters like this appear on the walls of Kabul from people who are trying to buy and sell household appliances and personal items.