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Afghans purchasing power shrinks with freezing of assets by U.S.


Working as a porter at a market, 18-year-old Nazir said "poverty has gripped my life as I hardly earn 400 afghani currently, while a bag of 21.5-kg rice was 2,000 afghani a couple of months ago but today it is 2,500 afghani which is beyond the purchasing power of ordinary people."

"Freezing Afghanistan's assets in America has led to price hike in the local market as the price of one sack flour (50 kg) was 1,200 afghani (13 U.S. dollars) but today it costs 2,300 afghani (25 U.S. dollars)," Kabul resident Noorzada said.

Accusing the United States of exacerbating the economic woes in Afghanistan, Noorzada said Washington's antipathy to the Taliban government in Kabul has virtually deprived ordinary Afghans of their daily income.

"Usually, I work hard every day to increase my income but can hardly buy a bag of flour once a month, while in the past I took three flour bags home," the 30-year-old man said.

People carry relief assistance donated by World Food Programme (WFP) in Kandahar city, Afghanistan, Oct. 7, 2021. (Photo by Sanaullah Seiam/Xinhua)

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Following Taliban's takeover in mid August and announcement of the caretaker government on Sept. 7, the United States has frozen Afghanistan's assets in U.S. banks after withdrawing U.S. troops and diplomats.

Washington has reportedly frozen some 9.5 billion U.S. dollars in assets of the Afghan central bank on charges of the presence of terrorist groups, such as al-Qaida and the hardliner Islamic State outfit, in the war-torn country.

Rejecting the U.S. accusation, Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman of the Taliban interim government, has stressed that the Afghan soil will not be used against any country, including the United States.

Echoing Noorzada's concerns, Kabul resident Nazir also blamed the United States for the skyrocketing prices in the Afghan markets, saying that Washington's double standard policy has caused economic chaos and growing poverty in the already impoverished country.

"We have no economy, no work and no regular income. In the past months, I earned 1,500 afghani each day but nowadays I can hardly earn 400 afghani daily," Nazir told Xinhua.

Working as a porter at a local market, 18-year-old Nazir said "poverty has gripped my life as I hardly earn 400 afghani currently, while a bag of 21.5-kg rice was 2,000 afghani a couple of months ago but today it is 2,500 afghani which is beyond the purchasing power of ordinary people."

Second-hand goods are for sale at a market in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, on Oct. 13, 2021. (Photo by Saifurahman Safi/Xinhua)

Economic hardship is palpable everywhere in conflict-torn Afghanistan including the capital Kabul, as many Kabul residents are selling their home appliances to survive.

Freezing Afghanistan's assets by the United States, according to Afghans, has made the new administration unable to pay the monthly salaries of government employees and the lack of income has dismayed almost all Afghans.

"The prices of basic needs particularly the food stuff have gone up almost day by day and the reason for growing inflation is freezing Afghan assets by America," shopkeeper Sayed Abid, 55, said.

According to Abid, 1 litter petrol costs 76 afghani, 1 litter diesel is 70 afghani and 1 litter liquid gas costs 90 afghani, and the prices will shoot up with depreciating afghani against the U.S. dollar. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 90 afghani)

Published : October 30, 2021

By : Xinhua