KABUL (Pajhwok): Before the fall of the previous government, 46 percent of daily wagers would get work daily, but now the number has plummeted to four percent, A Pajhwok Afghan News survey.
The Taliban, who took over Kabul on August 15, now control the entire country. Following the fall of the Ghani government, banks and Kabul’s largest money market (Sara-i-Shahzada) remained closed for some time.
However, they resumed their operations a few days ago and their affairs are limping back to normal.
On Tuesday (September 7), the Taliban unveiled an interim cabinet. But a majority of government officials have not yet returned to work.
Government and NGO staffers have not yet received their monthly salaries mainly as banking activities have not yet come back to normal.
In general, these factors have led to rising unemployment and economic problems for the people. Economists have noted a rise in unemployment due to recent developments in the country.
However, they believe, the government can resolve the problem with better management of the situation. For their part, the Taliban say they are trying to address the challenge at the earliest possible.
Concerns at rising unemployment
Pajhwok saw working conditions of daily wagers at four points in Kabul — Mirwais Maidan, Baharistan, Taimani and Pul-i-Sukh. It found that getting work had become very difficult for most of these labourers.
Kota-i-Sangi area (Mirwais Maidan) is one a neighbourhood in the 5th police district, where most daily wagers gather in search of jobs.
Ali Khan, a resident of Qala-i-Wahid who was expecting to get work, told Pajhwok that before the collapse of Kabul, 300 to 400 daily wagers came there. Of them, 150 to 200 would find work.
He said up to 400 people still come to this square daily to find work, but a handful of them were hired and the rest going without jobs.
“There is no work. We have been coming here for the past 20 days. I haven’t been offered any work. Only one or two people are offered work. Others stay here hungry and thirsty.
“Faced with a whole host of problems, I have to meet all expenses of my family. I want the Islamic Emirate to make it easier for me to work so that our children are spared the pangs of hunger.”
The Pul-i-Surkh Square is another place in in the 3rd police district where dozens of daily wagers gather to find work.
Syed Mustafa, another daily wager, said: “Previously, 100 to 150 workers came here daily Of them, 70-100 got work. After the return of the Islamic Emirate, 100-150 come for work and only 4-5 find work.”
Mustafa, the sole breadwinner for his family, returns home empty-hand almost every day.
Taimani is also place where dozens of people gather in quest of work. Hussaini, a resident of Taimani, said about 60 people streamed there daily, hoping to find work.
About 20 of them would be given jobs. But due to lack of work, now 30 people gather here, with only five to six hired.
Ghulam, another resident looking for work, said he struggled to find bread for his family in Baharistan area; Some 350 people used to come here earlier and about 150 found work, he recalled.
“But now around 250 people have to wait from morning to noon. But only 15 are offered work,” he reckoned.
Complaining of financial woes, Ghulam said: “We have no food at night as we return home disappointed,”
Ghulam and Hussain said the number of daily wagers had decreased because there was no work. Labourers were frustrated and no longer throng these squares in search of work, they grumbled.
In addition, the lack of work, the daily wage has also decreased. Before the Taliban’s takeover, they would earn 400 afghanis a day, but now the amount dipped to 300 afghanis.
“The situation of daily wagers is critical”
Dr Mohammad Liaqat Adill the persident of All Afghanistan Federatio n of Trade Unions( AAFTU), called the situation of laborers in the country as “critical” and said that unemployment and poverty in the country had reached a peak.
“The workers’ urgency is being abused, they are forced to do work of 100 afghanis for 50 afghanis,” he added.
Adel called on the authorities in the country and the international community to cooperate in solving the problems of the workers.
Rising unemployment along with other factors have political roots
Maruf Muslimyar, an economics expert and university professor, said the unemployment problem in the country exuberated in recent months, even in recent years.
According to him, after the Taliban took control of Kabul, the banks, central banks, money exchange market were closed and it caused the unemployment rate to rise in the country.
But he added that Afghanistan was a small country geographically and did not have a very large population; Therefore, with few facilities, it can reduce the unemployment rate and solve economic problems, he believed.
To solve the problem of unemployment and solve the economic problems of the country, Muslimyar suggested that the government should entrust the work to its people, and that the customs and many other resources that Afghanistan has should be well managed.
He also said that Afghanistan was a consumer country and met most of their needs from other countries; Therefore, the government of Afghanistan must have good relations with neighboring countries in order to turn the country into a trade gateway.
According to him, Afghanistan’s relations with other countries should be based on two principles (our interest and our necessity); to be able to reduce its economic problems.
“If we make good use of the situation in Afghanistan and have good and friendly relations with other countries, Inshallah (God Willing), our problems will be solved sooner,” he added.
Hopes for return the situation to normal
Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman and deputy minister for the Ministry of Information and Culture, told a press conference in Kabul on September 6 that he hoped the country’s economic situation would improve.
He said that the situation in the ports has returned to normal, the banks and the Sara-i-Shahzad in Kabul have started operating, and with this action, the value of the Afghani rose to some extent.
The value of the Afghani against the US dollar dropped to an unprecedented level until a few days ago. Currently the value of afghani against a dollar is 83.80.
Mujahid said that many countries have promised to cooperate with Afghanistan in the field of humanitarian aid and Afghan businessmen had also assured that they will transfer to Afghanistan their capital abroad and build their country with their investments.
According to him, now that the security situation in the country has improved.
This report has been produced by Pajhwok and financially supported by UNDP and Denmark.