In Herat, the Hub of Afghan Trade, Fear of Bankruptcy Increases

In Herat, a key axis of trade in western Afghanistan, a wave of bankruptcies is feared among traders, who express their “hopelessness” in the face of the deterioration of the country’s economic situation after the return of the Taliban to power in the middle of August, Market Research Telecast reported. “At the beginning, when the Taliban arrived, people were very happy, because we perceived that with them security was returning,” says Faghir Ahmad, a trader and importer of food products from Iran, very close to Herat. “But, unfortunately, now all prices have risen and people can no longer buy anything,” he told AFP in this city, the third largest in the country. “We fear bankruptcy in the near future. I am really desperate,” he adds. Devastated by more than four decades of wars, the Afghan economy has sunk further since August 15, when the Islamist movement regained power lost 20 years ago. Within a few weeks, food prices have skyrocketed, fuel prices have also risen, and opportunities to earn extra money have shrunk. International aid, on which the national economy depends to a great extent, has been largely suspended and makes the country hover over the specter of a “humanitarian catastrophe” and an economic crisis, according to the UN, which in recent weeks has sounded the alarm in this regard. In order to avoid a collapse of the banking system, Afghans are allowed to withdraw only the equivalent of 200 dollars (170 euros) in cash per person each week, and many civil servants have stopped receiving their salaries. Read more.