Afghans express growing concerns over deteriorating economic situation

By Ehsanullah

Afghan women collect free bread from a charity during the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kabul on April 13. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

Afghan women collect free bread from a charity during the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kabul on April 13. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

KABUL – Afghans are increasingly expressing their concerns over rising unemployment and widespread poverty amid an economic situation that is deteriorating with each passing day.

The decline in customer purchasing power has resulted in stagnating business, said Faqir Mohammad Mohammadi, a 35-year-old shopkeeper in Kabul's Ahmad Shahai market.

"We have a cosmetics shop, and our sales have decreased immensely because what everyone thinks about is finding a piece of bread ... fewer people come to buy shampoo, soap and other cosmetics," said Mohammadi.

Since August 2021, his daily sales have fallen from 50,000–90,000 AFN ($579 to $1,043) to 500–1,000 AFN ($6 to $12).

"In reality, our income is not sufficient to cover our lunch or transport expenses," he added.

"All shopkeepers in the Ahmad Shahai market are very concerned, and if the current situation continues and does not improve in the short term ... we will not be able to continue our business," said Mohammadi.

Mohammad Reza, a fruit seller in Pul-e-Surkh in Kabul City’s Police District 6, said that his sales have decreased significantly since 2021.

"Our sales were between 5,000 and 10,000 AFN [$58 and $116] daily ... however, we are just making between 1,000 and 1,500 AFN [$12 and $17] nowadays," he told Salaam Times.

"Our customers used to buy an unpacked carton of apples. However, they are now buying only a kilo or half a kilo of apples because they cannot afford it," added Reza.

"Unfortunately, because of the decrease in sales, sometimes our fruits decay, and we suffer a loss instead of making any profit," he said.

Increasing poverty

The economic situation could deteriorate further, Khairullah Hashimi, an economic analyst based in Türkiye, told Salaam Times.

"[Afghanistan's] economic cycle has stalled from the unemployment of hundreds of thousands of people, and all of society has been impacted by its effects," he added.

"Unemployment has hit schoolteachers, university professors, employees of nongovernmental organisations [NGOs], journalists and workers of private companies," he said.

"Additionally, even though some [Afghans] have jobs, they do not make enough income. These situations have all contributed to the stagnation of the market," said Hashimi.

Restrictions on local and international relief organisations will further exacerbate economic conditions in the country, according to Mustafa Nazari, an Afghan analyst based in the United Arab Emirates.

Foreign NGOs still providing vital help were dealt a blow in December last year when Afghan women were barred from working for them.

The curb was extended this month to the UN's Afghan female employees, and the organisation said it faces an "appalling choice" over whether to continue its aid schemes.

"Many households struggle with poverty and hunger, and for some of them, it is very difficult to find one or two meals a day," said Nazari.

Grim assessments

Estimates from the United Nations (UN) have been equally dire.

About 34 million Afghans are living below the poverty line, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said April 18.

"Nearly 20 million people [were estimated] to be acutely food-insecure between November 2022 and March 2023, including more than 6 million people who are one step from famine," Phillipe Kropf, a World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson based in Kabul, told Salaam Times in an email in mid-April.

"Four million people are acutely malnourished, including 3.2 million children under 5 years of age. The country is at the highest risk of famine in a quarter of a century and one in two families is in crisis-coping mode to survive," he wrote.

"Since August 2022, nine out of 10 Afghan families cannot afford enough food -- the highest in the world. Currently, nearly 20 million Afghans do not know where their next meal will come from," he added.

"Catastrophic hunger knocks on Afghanistan's doors and unless humanitarian support is sustained, hundreds of thousands more Afghans will need assistance to survive. A massive two-thirds of the population -- more than 28 million people -- needs humanitarian assistance this year, 10 million more than two years ago," Kropf said.

This year, WFP plans to reach 21 million Afghans with lifesaving food, nutrition and livelihood support and, to do so, requires $800 million for the next six months, he said.

"Last year, WFP massively scaled up its assistance across Afghanistan thanks to funding from our generous donors, supporting 23 million people -- 12 million of whom were women and girls," he added.

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Today, there are many economic problems in Afghanistan. Every family faces many problems. So far, both the aid organizations and the government have failed to do much. We hope that the world community and the governing system will pay serious attention to the issue of unemployment.


The guilt for the deterioration of Afghans' current and future economic situation lies entirely with America and its allies. America and its partners spent 20 years in the Afghan territory. Still, after leaving Afghanistan, they left behind nothing for Afghans and Afghanistan that would help Afghans earn a single loaf of bread. They spent billions of dollars in Afghanistan in the last 20 years, but they finished it in a way distributed to the warlords/bandits so that most of it was returned to the Americans and its allies. The biggest misfortune was that the dollars allocated to Afghan warlords did not remain in Afghanistan; they bought houses, markets, and many other things in Turkey and Dubai... to secure their future. It has been decades since the oppressed Afghan people have been victims of these international war projects. The point is that the Westerners, especially the Americans, did not help the Afghans. They did not build at least a strong and stable administration for the Afghans while everything was in their power; on the contrary, they used to make conspiracies for the Afghans and are still doing so. After leaving Afghanistan, America's worst decision was that America handed the power of Afghanistan to the illegitimate offspring of Great Britain (Pakistan). America has left Afghanistan in such a state that now Pakistan is speaking internationally as Afghanistan's representative. That was it, and it was over. Now it's a matter of the future and a matter still under


In Afghanistan, no king [ruler] has worked to free the nation from the need of other countries. When the king [ruler] of a country is thinking about when he will run away from his country with his family and never return to his country until the end of his life, will that king [ruler] build his country? no not at all. Because a person builds a house for himself by sustaining a hundred problems in order to live in. A person who is thinking of leaving his country is not building a house for himself, nor is he thinking of building a house for himself, because he has power for a few days and spends his time happily and that's it. The way they did not build a house for themselves, they did not build Afghanistan for its poor nation. The right of this poor nation was taken away by a number of betraying kings, ministers, and jehadi leaders to make a peaceful life for themselves, and they left this poor nation in a ruined house, and they ran away and left. When a government always asks for the help from other countries and asks for help from other countries for their own country's budget, what will be the state of the country? Beggars always need others. They are never satisfied. We didn't use our precious mines, we didn't build our homeland, we always danced for the drum of other countries, and for a little money we destroyed our homeland and ruined this poor nation. I wrote these things for the pain of my heart because when I see the life of my children, I suffer a lot. These leaders


In the past 100 years, the victims are only the helpless whenever a misfortune has befallen Afghanistan. Leaders and sons of the leaders have had a good life in the past, and they still have a good one, but those who follow these leaders and warlords are ignorant and holy Afghans.


Your report is authentic. The words of the people we quoted are very true. All the meetings held regarding Afghanistan should discuss the unification of Afghans and not the fighting. We request the international community to help millions of Afghans instead of giving up on Afghanistan. As an Afghan, I emphasize that the Afghan nation is tired of war, and to solve all conflicts, a space should be created for dialogue and interaction among the Afghans. International support for Afghans is our human right; it is for the good of the world and Afghans, and leaving this nation alone can be detrimental to all.


The economic situation in Afghanistan is getting worse day by day. Leave the other items; some families find it difficult even to get a piece of bread. And for those who find the bread, it is not the kind of food one needs. Afghanistan has been going through a difficult economic situation for the past two years. Instead of going in a better direction, Afghans are going toward a worse and more complex problem. The international community should look at this situation, leave any enmity with the Taliban regime in its place, and look at the lives of 40 million people; what kind of situation are they living in? They may make a deal with it. For the sake of these 40 million people, the international community should go through some complex negotiations, and the Taliban should go through some. They may not play with people's lives. Afghanistan is currently in need of reconstruction and development along with humanitarian aid. Afghans must develop like the people of the rest of the world, and they should be provided with development work in their own country. It is helpful for the international community to work for the economic, infrastructure, and development needs of the people instead of imposing restrictions to solve the current crisis in Afghanistan and increase the level of aid. I agree that the decisions of the Taliban have caused a lot of damage to the people, and the attention of other countries has been diverted from Afghanistan. Instead of giving up on Afghanistan, the Afg


In Afghanistan, the people's economy is weakening day by day. Even 80% of the people do not have enough to eat. The Taliban government has stopped the construction work. With the closure of the construction work, the mansion is unemployed, the laborer, the mold worker, the wire maker, the electrician, the carpenter, the metal worker, the tile worker, the plasterer, the painter, all of them are sitting idle in their houses, and there is no work for them. This is one of the factors in the deterioration of people's economy. Most of the shops that sold construction materials were closed, the owners used the capital they had. During the last few months, they got fed up and got rid of the shops, and they are sitting idle at home. The current government does not pay the salaries of the convinced people, which has also caused the deterioration of the economy of the Afghan people. Women who worked in the previous government, and received a monthly allowance from the government. They are also sitting at home, which has ruined the economy of the Afghan people. For a few years, there were no rental shops in Kabul city, and now you can find a shop in any location of Kabul city, and it will be found at a low rent as soon as possible, because the people's economy is weak. It is not easy for the shopkeeper to find the rent of his shop. Almost 50% of teenagers and children collect paper and plastic items, carrying the bags behind them, so that they can find a piece of bread for their family. T


With the coming to power of the new regime in Afghanistan as a result of the disgraceful Doha negotiations, Afghans lost many of the achievements of the past twenty years. Unfortunately, the Americans, during negotiations with the Taliban, abandoned the then government of Afghanistan and accepted whatever the enemies of Afghanistan (Pakistan) wanted. That is, without that the Taliban and Pakistan consider the dignity of women and girls, the Afghan government was disarmed and power was handed over power to the leaders of the Taliban and through the Taliban to Pakistan. What the international community is currently saying about Afghan girls and women is an absolute lie. Otherwise, if the international community, especially America, would decide as the Taliban government withdraw from their decision regarding Afghan women, they will change their policy within 24 hours. In fact, every country defends its interests and no country is thinking about the bettering and development of Afghanistan.


Years have passed since the people of Afghanistan extend their hands toward the gates of international aid agencies for their hunger, and every day they cry out of hunger. There is no doubt that the economic situation of the people is getting worse, but the solution is not to wait at the gates of aid agencies and seek bread until the Day of Judgment. To get out of the current state, work must be done in the society to force the current government to work programs for the people. The world will not cooperate in the distribution of bread for the rest of our lives. It is the government's responsibility to find work opportunities for the people instead of letting them beg.


I am personally thinking about one thing and wondering what the truth would be? On one hand, the Taliban government says that it has received two or three times more revenues from each department than in the past years, while on the other hand, people across the country are hungry and poor. Neither the government does anything to keep the people happy, nor does it relieve them from the need of charity organizations. It is true that the United Nations has a moral responsibility to help the poor people of war-torn countries, but why the Afghan governments do not implement such projects and programs that will relieve Afghans of the need to others. We don't want the Afghans, especially the women, to always sit in front of the gates of foreign organizations and wait for a few thousand Afghani or a sack of flour to be distributed to them. We ask the Taliban government to distribute the amount of money it has obtained from various internal institutions as soon as possible to the foreign people so that Afghans can get rid of the neediness of others. With respects