Kabul: With Afghanistan thrown into a major upheaval and economic crisis, the people facing unemployment and acute poverty have taken to the streets to sell their valuables in exchange for some cash to make ends meet.
Afghans who were earlier enjoying government jobs or were working in the private sector have been rendered jobless overnight. According to a report in Tolo News, the Afghans have now turned streets in Kabul into flea markets to sell their household belongings at cheap rates only to bring food to the table.
Laal Gul, a shopkeeper in Kabul, told Tolo News, “I sold my items for less than half their value. I bought a refrigerator for 25,000 afghanis and sold it for 5,000. What am I to do? My children need food at night.”
Some have even sold their goods worth 100,000 afghanis for as little as 20,000 at these flea markets on roads leading to Chaman-e-Hozori, a park in Kabul.
Visuals from the streets show Afghans lining up refrigerators, television sets, sofas, cupboards and every other household furniture, appliance in search of some liquidity.
A former police officer in Kabul, Mohammad Agha, has been working at the same market for the past 10 days. He told Tolo News, “They did not pay me my salary. Now, I do not have a job. What am I to do?”
A month after seizing Kabul, the Taliban are now facing daunting problems as they seek to convert their lightning military victory into an able, functional administration.
Afghans are now selling everything to find enough money to get food or arrange resources to escape the crumbling nation.
After four decades of war and the deaths of tens of thousands of people, while security has largely improved, Afghanistan’s economy is in ruins despite hundreds of billions of dollars in development spending over the past 20 years.
Drought and famine are driving thousands from the country to the cities, and the World Food Programme fears food could run out by the end of the month, pushing up to 14 million people to the brink of starvation.
While much attention in the West has focused on whether the new Taliban government will keep its promises to protect women’s rights or offer shelter to militant groups like al-Qaeda, for many Afghans the main priority is simple survival.