An Afghan vendor waits to sell second-hand goods at a market in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, on Oct. 13, 2021. Since Taliban's takeover of the country in mid-August, growing poverty and unemployment in cash-strapped Afghanistan have given rise to the business of trading second-hand home appliances and goods. (Photo by Saifurahman Safi/Xinhua)
KABUL, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- "More and more Afghans visit specialized markets for second-hand goods. A number of people try to sell things to buy immediate needs while some people attempt to find cheap stuff they can afford," shop owner Sayyed Khalid told Xinhua on Wednesday.
Since Taliban's takeover of the country in mid-August, growing poverty and unemployment in cash-strapped Afghanistan have given rise to the business of trading second-hand home appliances and goods.
The economic woes hit the impoverished country following freezing of over 9 billion U.S. dollars of Afghanistan central bank's assets by the United States as well as a halt of funds by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Since late August, thousands of Afghans had waited in long queues to withdraw their savings. On Aug. 28, the Afghan central bank issued an order to all banks, setting a temporary limit of withdrawals of 200 U.S. dollars, or 20,000 afghani, for one customer every week.
"We enjoy a peaceful environment after Taliban took over Afghanistan, but the economy can not breathe currently," Khalid said.
He noted that the small industries and businesses were collapsing, and the construction of buildings and houses was suspended while the number of shoppers declined in business hubs.
"More Afghans opt for second-hand clothes and shoes as their living condition worsens," dealer Kamaluddin told Xinhua on Wednesday.
"I came to buy things because goods are cheap. A lot of people lost their jobs after recent political changes. They sell their home appliances before immigrating to neighboring countries. They are going abroad," he said.
Official figures show that about 54.5 percent of Afghans were living under the poverty line in 2019, but the number soared to 72 percent in 2020.
At the weekend, a Taliban delegation urged the U.S. side to lift the ban on Afghan assets during a meeting with U.S. representatives in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
On Monday, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to the Taliban to fulfill their human rights and humanitarian obligations.
"The economy of Afghanistan is breaking down. Banks are closing and essential services, such as healthcare, have been suspended in many places. I urge the world to take action and inject liquidity into the Afghan economy to avoid collapse," Guterres tweeted.
He said the international community will pay a heavy price if it does not help Afghans now.
In September, 3.8 million Afghans received food assistance while 450,000 people get healthcare services provided by the UN and other aid agencies.
The international community and the UN must seek ways to create the conditions that would allow Afghan professionals and civil servants to continue working to serve the Afghan population in the cash-strapped and foreign-aid depending Central Asian country, Guterres said.
"I have brought some of my house appliances to sell and solve my financial problems," said Sayyed Abed, a Kabul resident, hoping that the international community will help to put an end to the suffering of the Afghan people.
Abed also urged the Afghan politicians to get united, put aside differences and join hands to form an inclusive government.
The Taliban's newly formed caretaker government has recently paid salaries to government employees for two months in a number of ministries, including ministries of education and public health.
The majority of some 400,000 state employees have not received wages since July.
"It is a moral obligation of a government to provide the basic necessities to the citizens," he said. Enditem