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Survival crisis: Streets of Kabul turn into flea markets

The Afghan people are facing unemployment and acute poverty as a result of the country’s upheaval and economic crisis. They are selling their valuable items to make ends meet. Afghans who were previously employed by the government or in the private sector have been rendered jobless overnight. According to a report in Tolo News, Afghans have now turned streets in Kabul into flea markets, where they sell household belongings at cheap prices to feed their families.

Shopkeeper Laal Gul 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’. Those selling their goods at these flea markets on roads leading to Chaman-e-Hozori, a park in Kabul, have sold goods worth 100,000 afghanis for as little as 20,000. Street visuals show Afghans lining up refrigerators, tv sets, sofas, cabinets, and all kinds of household furniture in search for some liquidity.

Mohammad Agha, a former police officer in Kabul, has been working at the same market for the past ten 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 taking Kabul, the Taliban are now facing daunting challenges as they attempt to convert their military victory into an effective and functional government. Now Afghans are selling everything they own to get food or arrange resources to escape the crumbling nation.

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Despite spending hundreds of billions of dollars in development over the past 20 years, Afghanistan’s economy is in ruins due to four decades of war and the death of thousands of people. Famine and drought are driving thousands to the city, 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 is focused on whether the new Taliban government will uphold its promise to save women’s rights, or whether it will offer shelter to militant groups like al-Qaeda, for most Afghans the main concern is survival.


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