Almost a year after Kabul’s fall and the US’s withdrawal, the economy remains in free fall, and the country faces a near-constant humanitarian disaster.
The markets in Kabul have food, but few can afford it. A sack of flour can cost about $30. Businesses struggle to get materials because of lack of access to bank accounts or foreign currency. Teachers and government workers weren’t getting paid, and even if those salaries have resumed, incomes are lower. People sell furniture and silverware for cash. They also sell their kidneys.
This is Afghanistan in the months after the Taliban marched into Kabul, the Afghan government fell, and the United States withdrew. America’s 20-year war ended, but another crisis replaced it: economic collapse. This was brought on by the near-instant evaporation of billions of dollars in foreign aid, sanctions on Taliban leaders, and the US’s freezing of Afghanistan’s foreign currency reserves. A severe drought, the Taliban’s struggles to govern, and now the global shocks from the Ukraine war have pushed Afghanistan toward humanitarian catastrophe.