Kabul residents struggle to make ends meet as food, fuel prices soar under Taliban govt

Residents of Kabul are struggling to make ends meet under the new Taliban-led Afghanistan government, with the price of basic commodities skyrocketing, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

A month-and-a-half after the Taliban’s takeover of the country, locals have come to terms with the new reality. But in the wake of the regime change, earning a livelihood and sustaining themselves is becoming increasingly difficult due to an unfortunate match-up of shortages, inflation and mismanagement.

Food costs have risen as a result of food imports from Pakistan and Iran, affecting both buyers and sellers. A Kabul resident remarked that flour costs have gone up by 30 per cent, while vegetables and cereals are dearer by 50 per cent. Medicines are also hard to come by.

Fuel prices have risen by 20 per cent to 40 per cent since early August, said a taxi driver in Kabul. Back then, the democratically elected government was still in power, though the Taliban was making inroads in large swathes of the country.

ALSO READ | UN seeks to raise over $600 million to avert humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

“People who support their daily necessities by driving cabs and tiny shuttle buses are left with little money due to the fuel price hikes,” the taxi driver said.

Restrictions on cash withdrawals from banks and ATMs have further compounded problems faced by locals. Not more than 20,000 Afghanis ($200) can be withdrawn from banks per week, the Taliban government has dictated. The value of the Afghan currency has also fallen.

“The issue of survival is now at the forefront, and the threat of misery is the primary cause of our despair,” a Kabul resident said, as quoted by TASS.

ALSO READ | Strengthen, stabilise Taliban govt in Afghanistan: Pakistan’s Imran Khan at UNGA

The Taliban seized power on the back of a military blitz across Afghanistan, leading to the collapse of the Ashraf Ghani-led government. The hardline Islamist group formed a new interim government earlier this month, after the exit of US and allied troops from the country on August 31.

The political upheaval has resulted in an economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, with millions displaced and on the brink of poverty and starvation. The United Nations has warned of a “looming catastrophe” in Afghanistan and called on member states to help fund relief and aid to the war-ravaged country.

WATCH | Afghanistan: Under the Taliban rule the Afghan food crisis has worsened

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