Life under the Taliban today

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Dear Sir

There is a complex struggle going on in the streets of Kabul and throughout Afghanistan today. Average Afghans are making every effort possible to make ends meet in an economy where banks and government offices are closed, and mass uncertainty exists.

With the exodus of American and Western military and many NGOs ‘ financial input, the economy cannot perform as usual. Taliban seem to have no policies that will give the economy and the population direction and hope. Cash is growing scarce and the cost of living is on the rise – big time. The Taliban continue to tighten their grip upon Kabul and all rural regions, and the population is mostly terrified of their new rulers and the policies they enact.

There is a profound dichotomy between the population in Kabul, a modernistic attitude while in rural areas’s a far more conservative approach to all things Afghani. The clash of cultures has caused significant problems for The Taliban. The well educated professional class is hiding in their homes, afraid to enter the Taliban’s sphere of influence everywhere else.

Neighborhoods do not fear crime, for their new rulers deal with criminality most severely. But jobs, professions and new business starts are rare and not hiring. Unemployment is very high, especially for the well educated who are mistrusted by Taliban officials. Those who had government jobs lost them. Many Afghanis are afraid the Taliban will take possession of their property and wealth, thereby dissuading the population to trust and freely work with the Taliban.

In the Western sector of Kabul, where many businesses are located, while fuel is getting harder to find, the road traffic and businesses are nearly back to normal. Those involved in the transportation sector claim the Taliban has made travel safer and consolidated its control over the transportation networks. Many of the checkpoints established before are now gone. Traffic is once again on the move, yet food pieces of stuff, energy and the essentials of life are not arriving in Kabul. Police harassment and bribery, once a thing of legend in Kabul, is no more.

With the vacuum created by the US Forces, the Taliban has reached out for assistance from Russia, while it searches for a way to establish new leadership, government and national purpose.

The Taliban’s take over has placed Afghanistan’s fragile economy in limbo, a place where no one wishes to invest in a nation like Afghanistan, there is little that interests international investors or buyers. A horrible drought with mass starvation has hit this land. This is a place where international cooperation with the Taliban should happen, must happen and soon.

Steven Kaszab

Bradford, Ontario

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