Afghan markets mired with high prices despite rise of currency value

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Despite the US dollar depreciating against the afghani, Afghanistan’s national currency, the prices of essential items like food and fuel still remained high.

The US dollar depreciated to 98 afghanis on Sunday, from 130 afghanis days ago, reports Xinhua news agency.

“I face a lot of problems at home, but when I visit local bazaars I face much bigger problems including the high price of basic goods and foodstuff. The price of essential goods is doubled in comparison with a month ago,” Sayyed Mohammad, a resident from northern Jawzjan province, told Xinhua.

He said the prices of goods skyrocketed following a sharp decline of afghani value early this week.

“The rate of foreign currencies has dropped in recent days, but the price of food, gas and fuel as well as car rent did not drop so far.”

Since the takeover of Afghanistan in August and the formation of the Taliban-led caretaker government in September, the country has faced economic problems.

Basic services in Afghanistan are collapsing while food and other life-saving aid are about to run out.

The situation worsened following the freezing of over $9 billion of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), the country’s central bank, assets by the US as well as a halt of funds by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“We are facing a major economic crisis and the reason behind the crisis is the freeze of Afghanistan’s assets by the United States, I came to Kabul to withdraw my savings from a private bank after I failed to get money in my hometown, however, I failed to collect money despite wasting time and waiting for days,” Mohammad said.

“If the US does not return our assets, Afghans will face a humanitarian catastrophe soon,” he said.

The Taliban caretaker government has repeatedly called upon the US to unfreeze assets with aid agencies warning of acute food shortages for more than 22 million Afghans in the coming winter.

“I have been trying to get my salary for two weeks after a government announcement. There is uncertainty in banks around the country, we cannot get our savings or salaries from our own accounts,” Mohammad Sharif, a civil servant, said.

The majority of some 400,000 state employees have only received wages of two months since July. The Taliban government has announced that civil servant can receive their salaries, however, problems and crises in the banks remained a hurdle for servants to get salary on time, according to Sharif.

“The government is facing a financial crisis amid a decline in revenue and it is still unable to pay the salaries of the several remaining months. On one side, business owners have increased the prices of their goods because the foreign currencies are rising quickly. On the other side, most Afghans have so little in their wallets to buy food and firewood as the winter is coming,” he said.

The recent crisis has forced many Afghans to flee the country, but the Taliban officials have been trying to convince the people to stay, promising them that the challenges will be solved in near future.

“Unfortunately, the Afghan citizens no longer have enough money to buy goods, everyone is suffering a stifling economic crisis,” said Salim Khan, a Kabul resident.

20211220-102004

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