Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Taliban expand economic team as Afghan crisis deepens

ForexSep 21, 2021 10:37AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An Afghan money exchange dealer carries bundles of banknotes at an exchange market, following banks and markets reopening after the Taliban took over in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 4, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo 2/2

(Reuters) - Afghanistan's Taliban government bolstered its economic team on Tuesday, naming a commerce minister and two deputies as the group tries to revive a financial system in shock from the abrupt end to billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Nooruddin Azizi, a businessman from Panjshir province north of Kabul, was named as acting minister of commerce and industry and would start work immediately, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference.

Azizi joins the acting finance minister and minister for economic affairs, both of whom were announced previously, in a team facing a daunting task.

Exacerbated by a drought that threatens to leave millions of people hungry, the economic crisis is among the biggest challenges facing the Taliban 20 years after they were driven from power by a U.S.-led campaign in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"We are working day and night on this and on making sure that the economic issue is resolved as soon as possible," Mujahid told reporters.

He did not give concrete proposals as to how this could be achieved, but did promise that government workers who have been unpaid since at least July would start receiving salaries soon.

Underlining the economic pressures building on Afghanistan's new government, prices for staples like flour, fuel and rice have risen and long queues are still forming outside banks as they strictly ration withdrawals.

Some humanitarian aid has started to arrive and limited trade has returned across land borders with Pakistan, but a severe cash shortage is crippling day-to-day economic activity and decades of war have left much infrastructure in tatters.

Foreign aid payments, which accounted for 40% of Afghanistan's gross domestic product, have all but stopped as the West considers how to deal with a group that, until August, led a deadly insurgency against the U.S.-backed government.

Amruddin, a former member of the provincial council in the northern city of Kunduz, said farmers caught up in the war during the harvest season and the dire state of some of the country's roads meant much of the produce had gone to waste.

"Kunduz is known as the bread basket of Afghanistan, but the economic situation, especially the agriculture situation in Kunduz, is miserable," he said. "Farmers could not get products like melon and grapes to Kabul due to all the problems."

BUSINESS DOWN

In the cities, normally bustling commercial areas are unusually quiet, and impromptu markets have sprung up where people try to sell their household goods to raise cash.

Even before the Taliban seized Kabul on Aug. 15, 47% of the population lived in poverty, according to the Asian Development Bank, and a third survived on the equivalent of $1.90 a day.

While many people welcomed the end to 20 years of fighting between the Taliban and ousted Afghan forces supported by foreign troops, the economic crisis is causing the new government increasing concern.

Afghanistan's central bank has been blocked from accessing more than $9 billion in foreign reserves held outside the country, and Mujahid said millions of dollars belonging to the state had disappeared before the Taliban entered the capital.

He said officials were making efforts to find out what happened to the missing cash that he said had been taken out of banks before the government of President Ashraf Ghani collapsed.

Banks are limiting withdrawals to $200 or 20,000 afghani a week for private citizens and many people say they cannot even access that. Potentially more serious in the longer term is the lack of work.

"Unfortunately, there are no job opportunities for us," said one Kabul resident, who declined to give his name. He said he earned 1,000-1,500 afghani a day before the Taliban arrived but now had nothing.

Taliban expand economic team as Afghan crisis deepens
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email