Afghan citizens are at risk of starvation and falling under the poverty line as the country’s economy continues to decline under Taliban leadership, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
Former Afghan government officials are discreetly telling Taliban officials what to do in the financial sector, though “the best they can muster in domestic revenues is $500 million to $700 million,” which is not enough to provide basic goods and services or pay public officials, the AP reported.
The Taliban are trying to keep local businesses open as the new government vies for international recognition from foreign leaders.
Billions of dollars in international funding for Afghanistan were frozen after sanctions were implemented against the ruling Taliban government, and the United Nations is predicting a majority of the country will fall into poverty and be at risk for starvation.
“They don’t understand the magnitude,” one ministry official told the AP.
“We had an economy of $9 billion in circulation, now we have less than $1 billion.”
“Why would I expect them to understand international monetary policy? They are guerrilla fighters at heart,” the official added, according to the AP.
Afghanistan’s economy transitioned from illegal trade, when the Taliban was in power 20 years ago, to a multi-billion-dollar operation dependent on international trade and donors, the AP reported.
The Taliban pulled ex-employees from the former Afghan Finance Ministry, the central bank and other state banks to come back to work.
“They told us, ‘We are not experts, you know what is better for the country, how we can survive under these challenges,'” one state bank official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the AP.
The Taliban said, “Do what you must,” and added, “God is watching you, and you will be accountable for what you do on Judgment Day,” the AP reported.
Around 95 percent of Afghanistan’s population is expected to go hungry, and 97 percent of the country could fall below the poverty line, according to United Nations predictions.
Taliban officials are reportedly trying to work with businessmen who trade with other countries to obtain basic goods, the AP reported.
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