Afghan Taliban begin paying salaries to govt employees

Published November 21, 2021
A Taliban fighter stands guard at the entrance of a stadium as people wait to receive cash at a money distribution organised by the World Food Programme in Kabul on Nov 20. — AP
A Taliban fighter stands guard at the entrance of a stadium as people wait to receive cash at a money distribution organised by the World Food Programme in Kabul on Nov 20. — AP

KABUL: Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities said on Saturday they had begun paying government employees who had not received a paycheck since the Islamists seized power and triggered a major financial crisis.

Most government employees have yet to return to work and many had not been paid for months even before the Taliban captured power, especially rural workers.

“We are going to start paying salaries from today. We will pay three months’ salaries,” Ahmad Wali Haqmal, spokesman for the finance ministry said at a press conference.

Haqmal said salaries will be paid for the period starting August 23, adding that some government employees will be paid even for the month before the Taliban took power.

The payment will be made through the country’s banking system which Haqmal said had not been “paralysed” since the fall of the previous government.

“It just needs time to operate normally,” he said.

The government employees will still be unable to access their full salaries.

Since August, Afghanistan’s banking sector has collapsed, and those with money in the bank have struggled to access their funds as branches curtailed withdrawals to $200 to $400 a week.

The financial crunch was aggravated after Washington froze about $10 billion of assets held in its reserve for Kabul and deteriorated further after the World Bank and International Monetary Fund halted Afghanistan’s access to funding.

Foreign donors led by the United States provided more than 75 percent of the public expenditure under Afghanistan’s previous 20-year Washington-backed government.

The rapidly worsening situation has forced Afghans to sell their household goods to raise money for food and other essentials with the local currency crashing and prices skyrocketing.

Meraj Mohammad Meraj, the spokesman for the government’s revenue department, said the authorities were in a position to pay salaries after earning revenues of 26 billion Afghanis (around $277 million) in the past two and half months.

“Only 20 to 25 percent of the economy was operational... Not all sectors are currently operational,” Meraj said at the press conference.

He added that the authorities will introduce a new Islamic tax to fund aid projects for poor people and orphans.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2021

Opinion

A state of chaos

A state of chaos

The establishment’s increasingly intrusive role has further diminished the credibility of the political dispensation.

Editorial

Bulldozed bill
Updated 22 May, 2024

Bulldozed bill

Where once the party was championing the people and their voices, it is now devising new means to silence them.
Out of the abyss
22 May, 2024

Out of the abyss

ENFORCED disappearances remain a persistent blight on fundamental human rights in the country. Recent exchanges...
Holding Israel accountable
22 May, 2024

Holding Israel accountable

ALTHOUGH the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor wants arrest warrants to be issued for Israel’s prime...
Iranian tragedy
Updated 21 May, 2024

Iranian tragedy

Due to Iran’s regional and geopolitical influence, the world will be watching the power transition carefully.
Circular debt woes
21 May, 2024

Circular debt woes

THE alleged corruption and ineptitude of the country’s power bureaucracy is proving very costly. New official data...
Reproductive health
21 May, 2024

Reproductive health

IT is naïve to imagine that reproductive healthcare counts in Pakistan, where women from low-income groups and ...