Afghans lose decades of progress in just two years

By Hamza

Afghan women protest for their rights at a beauty salon in the Shahr-e-Naw area of Kabul on July 19. [AFP]

Afghan women protest for their rights at a beauty salon in the Shahr-e-Naw area of Kabul on July 19. [AFP]

KABUL -- Afghan economic, political and educational achievements made over the last 20 years have all been wiped out in the past two years, say observers.

A lack of strategic economic planning at the executive level has caused poverty and an exodus of material and human assets from the country, leaving Afghanistan in a constant state of humanitarian and economic crisis.

"Afghanistan has experienced a downward spiral and reversal in growth and development in different areas -- especially in the economic arena -- in the last two years," Shaker Yaqoobi, a Kabul-based economic analyst, told Salaam Times.

"The economy faced contraction on several indicators, while hunger, poverty, and unemployment significantly increased. According to the United Nations, more than 28 million people need humanitarian assistance, and more than six million others face famine," Yaqoobi said.

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

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

The country's entire population was 41.1 million in 2022, the World Bank estimates.

"Numerous economic and development projects that were being implemented with the international community's financial assistance ... are either canceled or suspended because of lack of budget and capacity," he said.

"There is no planning for the development, growth and economic improvement of the country."

"A lack of strategic economic and trade programs ... has led to more than 97% poverty. Investment and trade have decreased and led businesses to take their investments out of the country and invest them abroad," he said.

"Poverty and unemployment have increased in the last two years," Azarakhsh Hafizi, a former member of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment and economic analyst based in Germany, said.

"We have seen unprecedented levels of malnourishment and hunger ... people have even had to sell their kidneys and children to feed their families. The situation can't be worse than this," Hafizi said.

"A humanitarian catastrophe could have [resulted] in the loss of millions of lives if it weren't for the international assistance."

"Afghanistan's GDP and per capita income have shrunk by 35 and 50% [since August 2021], respectively," Hafizi said, adding that purchasing power has also dropped.

Lost achievements

Unemployment has also increased from 50% to 74% since August 2021, Fahim Chakari, a university professor in Kabul, told Salaam Times.

Most educated Afghans are trying to flee the country, he added.

"Four hundred university professors have fled the country in the past two years alone," he said.

"Unfortunately, today Afghanistan is losing its financial and human assets amid a rapid brain drain. Unlike today, two years ago, these experts were at work trying hard to develop Afghanistan."

"A country can achieve growth and development when it has a development budget. The current government has only an operational budget but no budget for development projects," Chakari said.

Two years ago, "public services were being delivered regularly, and every Afghan man and woman had the right to elect and be elected in democratic processes, and the government was accountable," said Ishaq Atmar, a university professor and political analyst based in Germany.

"Unfortunately, that is no longer the case today," Atmar said.

"Both boys and girls had historical and golden opportunities to pursue their education with millions of youth attending schools and universities, while the number of educated members of society drastically increased," he added.

"An unprecedented and historical transformation happened in our society, but today we are witnessing its reversal, and all our historical and golden achievements are lost."

Women have lost the most.

"In the past two decades [before August 2021], Afghan women got access to their natural, human, and Islamic rights for the first time," said Suraya Paikan, a women's rights activist and former deputy minister of higher education based in Türkiye.

"Afghan women and girls were given the right to education and work ... More than 10 million boys and girls went to school, and thousands of girls graduated from universities."

"Afghan women and girls had a prominent presence in society and were appointed ministers, governors, mayors, deputy ministers, directors and judges and [were elected to] parliament, but unfortunately, history repeated itself in the last two years and all of the women's achievements were lost," she said.

Today, Afghan girls are deprived of their right to education, leaving them isolated and trapped at home, Paikan said.

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The economy of the people of Afghanistan has become very weak. Those who had spent all their time in education are now sitting at home with an unknown fate, and their works have got weakened. All of the hardworking women who are the breadwinners of the families who are now sitting at home are disappointed and have no hope to work. The cause of all this misery is the previous government. They added everything that Afghanistan had to their capital and fled the country. They trampled on the rights of the poor people and lived their lives in peace and comfort from the beginning to the end. They took away the rights of the poor people. No one paid attention to the poor people of their country. Each of them saved for themselves and when the time came, they left the country and fled. May God have mercy on the poor people of Afghanistan.


Afghans really lost many of the gains they had made during the twenty years of the republic. There are three groups responsible for all this misery, all of whom share the crime. The statesmen of the republic period, especially Abdullah Abdullah, head of the northern criminal gang, who challenged the government from 2009 to 2021 until it was collapsed. Second, the international community, especially the United States, which did not allow the government of Ashraf Ghani to hit the criminals such as Atta Mohammad Noor, [Abdul] Rashid Dostum, Gul Agha Shirzai, Hakim Shojaei, Zahir Qadeer, Homayun Homayun, Ismail Khan, Sayyaf, Abdul Raziq... and others. Third, the ignorant group of the Taliban, who were managed by Pakistan's intelligence agency. All these are responsible for all the misfortunes that have befallen Afghans and especially Afghan women. Today, Afghanistan has become like a charity center, which WFP and others bring a few dollars, 50% of it is looted by the organizations, and the rest is given to the poor people of Afghanistan. At the same time, the international community also committed another crime by pulling Afghan cadres out of Afghanistan, while the international community and especially the United States in the Doha talks could make the Taliban criminal group that they should not allow professional people to flee from the country. Even now, if the international community, especially the United States, asks the Taliban, and asks from the bottom of its heart, the Ta


It is exactly like that. Over the past few decades, any progress made in education has been rolled back to zero. Students who have dedicated their day and night to their studies and wanted to achieve their dreams with great interest and enthusiasm, are now sitting in shock and all their efforts and hopes have been vanished. Also, I know girls who have been hospitalized 10 times for mental health in the last two years and have been on medication for days after that but have not recovered. The ruling system has made an unfair and cruel decision regarding the girls' education which is not acceptable to the people of Afghanistan.


The main point is that we run away from our responsibility, like a lazy student who doesn't learn and then blames the teacher for his failure. Look around; how many young people can you count on? How many people do you know who talk about the good of the country apart from themselves? I am worried about the future of this country. If we were another colony, maybe we could get rid of this problem quickly now, and we would all have moved, but our problem is that we stand alone. We are colonizing ourselves. No one has put anklets on our feet. No one told us to kill our brothers on Earth. No one has told us to hate our countrymen because of their language, race, and religion. No one has told us not to pay attention to the lesson and walk here and there around the streets. No one has told us to be hypocritical and lie. No one told us to give authority of ourselves to the warlords. We have taken fire from our skirts, which we can put off ourselves. One or two people cannot do this; everyone is responsible. India should be an example for us, which shines even after so much tragedy and captivity! They did all that with the power of their people. May God help us to be freed from this laziness and realize our power. At that time, no one could stop us. We may have gone through wars, but some people have gone through worse days than us and still keep their heads up and are proud. And no one has stopped them from making progress.


They don't try to imitate other people but instead try to identify their own cultures. And we, who were never directly colonized, got our independence before them, have little means. Hindus built their homeland with the force of their arms. They escaped the colonial trauma, but we are still waiting for a miracle or someone to come and save us. We still consider school to be atheism, like a hundred and two hundred years ago. If we find food for one time, we are surprised how to find it for the second time. We are still in this dilemma of whether working and learning a trade diminishes our pride and ego. One person works, while twenty others are sitting and waiting to receive from him. Our traders are still thinking of how to sell an item costing AFN 10 for AFN 100 and how to loot peoples' money. Our students try to find ways to upgrade through cheating while the teacher is feeling bored and thinking about how and when to finish the lessons and to close the school so they can go and lie to the sun and drink green tea. Our doctor is no less than a butcher; he practices and exercises and shows as if he is not a patient but a mouse in the laboratory of experiments. The news will not be called news if the journalist does not lie. Mullah thinks his prayer has been wasted if he doesn't do the hypocrisy. And we will not waste time discussing the politicians. We are going on with trust and have left everything to fate. Neither religion nor the world! Our women are the source of corrupti


India was a British colony for almost nine decades. Millions of Hindus died during this period. Billions of rupees were removed from India, and the industry suffered greatly. Britain used to collect high taxes from Indians and then used the money to buy and transport Indian products. Today's estimation shows trillions of dollars have been taken out of India. Some studies show that before India became a colony, it had more than 27% of the world's economy, but then it became so poor that people died of hunger. An Al Jazeera study found that 100 million Indians died due to British policies during the 1881-1920s. The Bengal famine in 1943 was one of those events that could have been prevented. Three million people died in India due to this famine. Messages were repeatedly sent to the British Cabinet not to take away rice and other food items from India; people here were starving. But Churchill said that the famine is because Hindus eat like rabbits. And if there is a food famine, why is Gandhi still alive? India had lost its identity. Its body and soul were as dead as it could not even take a sigh. They won their independence not by force of guns but by silence. And it has not been long, but now it is one of the most powerful countries in the world. Technology, economy, education, trade, arts, cinema, sports, and other fields make India stand among the most powerful countries. There is no foreign country where there are no Indians, and the majority of them have gone there for thei


I do not like this article because it is biased and not based on facts. One can ask a simple question which is: Has the Taliban looted the banks and took the money out of the circulation when they took power? If yes, then the article and the view of so-called economist is right. If the answer is not, then one should ask where the money went? Unless this question is not answered, the criticism in the article could be only considered propaganda article not economic analysis. the fact is that the wealth was moved out of the country before the Taliban took power by the corrupt government official and the corrupt financial institutions. All banks in Afghanistan during the 20 years were established to collect the small saving from every individual in the country and move them to other countries for investment. For example, Azizi bank invested more than one billion in UAE during the so-called democratic government. Why the government did not stop Azizi bank not to move the wealth out of country. When the Taleban took power, there was not cash in the banks to pay the depositors!!! The writers of the article and the commentators do not know this fact. when we say 20 years progress, what progress? if we have made an economic progress in the 20 years, how could that be vanished in the first month of the Taliban take over? In fact, it was an artificial economy based on pumping USD to the country and distribute it to government officials as salary and incentives. there was nothing solid..


I am looking forward to the day when girls' schools and universities get opened. Women be given working rights in all relevant and necessary government departments by observing hijab and veil. The politics of deletion and revenge be eradicated. The path of patience and tolerance be chosen. The hearts and intentions get pure. Hugs be opened wide. Putting stamps on alien beliefs and foreign cultures is called a crime. Mutual respect becomes common. The Taliban with long beards and turbans accept the Afghans with shaved beards, lacking turbans, and suited well like their brothers. The story of blame and salvation ends. The terms pro-invasion, slave, blasphemy, and this and that are included in the violent category of crime. Afghans exiled abroad with their families arrive in groups at Kabul airport and are welcomed. Instead of unnecessary and non-priority issues, all the focus is on the economic strengthening of the country, water management, construction of dams and highways, and regular and accountable governance. Position and job be recognized as a responsibility, not as a privilege. The flag of the Taliban is added to the tricolor national flag of Afghanistan. Issues with little or no benefit, such as music, not wearing hijab, etc., cause hatred and division to disappear. All the focus be given to filling the stomachs of the hungry, ending unemployment, creating job opportunities, providing hope to the youth, vocational and technical education. I wish! I will see all this in


It is exactly like this. I agree with your opinion. Until that the doors of schools and universities not open for girls, the problems will not be solved. Work and employment are taken away from women day by day, which is a big problem. The government must pay serious attention to this matter, otherwise the nation will never unite with the ruling system.