Economy in ruins, mass hunger: Mounting challenges await Taliban

The Taliban has been celebrating the withdrawal of US-led NATO forces after 20 years of war, but for millions of Afghans, life remains difficult and uncertain amid a crumbling economy.

The Taliban, which seized control of the country for the second time, celebrated their victory, saying that Afghanistan is finally a “free and sovereign” nation.

But as Taliban prepares to rule it faces unpaid government employees, cashless banks and mass hunger.

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday said that the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan was the best available option for him to end to country’s longest military campaign.

Government employees have not been paid salaries for months and banks are barely functional as the country has been cut off from the international financial institutions after the Taliban took over the country on August 15.

More than half a million Afghans have been internally displaced due to months of deadly fighting between the Taliban fighters and government forces.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Tuesday warned of a looming “humanitarian catastrophe”, adding that basic services threatened to collapse “completely”.

Charles Stratford, Al Jazeera’s correspondent, said that there are increasing concerns over the formation of a new government in Afghanistan and how the Taliban intend to deal with the country’s ailing economy.“…there are huge questions with respect to governance in terms of delivering services and managing an economy that is hemorrhaging,” Stratford, reporting from Kabul, said.

He pointed out that the decision – by some international institutions, such as the Word Bank and IMF – to freeze aid disbursements to the country, will represent another major obstacle for the Taliban.

On Wednesday, Afghanistan central bank board member urged US President Joe Biden and IMF to release funds for the country. The US froze nearly $9.5bn in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank last month.


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