After 40 days of Taliban's regime, Afghanistan's economy is collapsing

It is getting increasingly evident that the Taliban isn't capable of running a functional government as well as it ran an insurgency campaign.
After 40 days of Taliban's regime, Afghanistan's economy is collapsing
A burqa-clad woman begs for alms along a street in Kabul on September 26, 2021.Hoshang Hashimi / AFP

It's been more than 40 days since the Taliban took control and there seems to be no end to the agony suffered by the Afghan citizens. Poverty and unemployment is continuously on the rise and calls have been made to the Taliban caretaker government to take decisive actions to avoid a humanitarian disaster in war-torn Afghanistan.

"The Taliban declared the war is over. More than 40 days after the Taliban takeover of Kabul, there still has been no positive change in the living conditions of the people. We enjoy good security, but we are concerned as living condition worsens in both urban and rural areas," Kabul resident Mohammad Khan told Xinhua on Tuesday.

It is getting increasingly evident that the Taliban isn't capable of running a functional government as well as it ran an insurgency campaign. More bad news hit Afghans when Syed Moosa Kaleem Al-Falahi, the Chief Executive of the Islamic Bank of Afghanistan stated that the country's financial industry is in the grip of an "existential crisis" and is close to collapsing, according to BBC. "There's huge withdrawals happening at the moment", he said, speaking to BBC from Dubai, where he is temporarily based because of the chaos in Kabul.

"Only withdrawals are happening, most of the banks are not functioning, and not providing full services," he added, the report said.

Everyone except Taliban must've seen this coming. When the insurgent group took control, there was an exodus of Afghans--educated ones who worked in the government and helped foreign countries-- fleeing towards neighbouring countries. With an insufficient number of educated employees and women now barred from the workforce, the Taliban has inadvertently ruined its own chances of running a functional government. Before gaining power, the Taliban was reliant on the revenue it received from its illegal mining, opium production to fund its battles. But it is time to realise that running a government is much more difficult than running an insurgent group. "Taliban revenues from such sources (illegal activities) could be considered relatively large when only running an insurgency campaign," Mr Ajmal Ahmady, the former governor of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) wrote in the Financial Times. "They are wholly inadequate to operate a functional government."

With an insufficient number of educated employees and women now barred from the workforce, the Taliban has inadvertently ruined its own chances of running a functional government.

A nation is considered aid-dependent when 10% or more of its gross domestic product (GDP) comes from foreign aid; in Afghanistan's case, about 40% of its GDP was international aid, according to the World Bank. As is clearly visible, Afghanistan's economy was already extremely fragile, heavily dependent on aid and the Taliban's victory in the region did nothing but aggravate the situation. Since the takeover, US, Germany along with other Western nations suspended or froze international funds to the country, including assets Afghanistan could have accessed with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Remittances, meaning the money send back home from relatives staying abroad, is an important addition to Afghanistan's economy. 4% of the country's GDP is made up of remittances which makes it one of the countries in the world most dependent on it. But after the Taliban took over and western countries halted foreign aid, money transfer companies have stopped services in Afghanistan. This put a halt on remittances too because now, there is no easy way for Afghan residents to receive money from relatives living abroad.

Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to countries that have pledged $1.2 billion in relief for Afghanistan to fast-track the process. But countries like the United States have said that depending on some pre-conditions - including the improvement of the regime's treatment of women and minorities- it will consider whether to work with the Taliban government.

(With inputs from IANS)

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