Afghanistan is now in a penumbra of bloody uncertainty which the Taliban 2.0 is too myopic and strategically incapable to overcome. As a result, Kabul, the capital of war-torn country, is fast turning into something utterly beyond recognition. The vibrant nightlife and arts scene of Kabul before the Taliban had swept to power in Afghanistanis now in anightmare that does not know where it will end up to. Apparently, a radical transformation sans any semblance of human touch takes place there with thousands of longtime Taliban fighters, having poured into Kabul , working in round-the-clock security patrols.

But the reborn emirate is encircled with hydra- headed financial, strategic, political and diplomatic crisis. The civil officials have not been getting their salaries and allowances for over three months. Chances of resumption of monthly salaries – leave alone payment of back wages – are remote as the US authorities are unwilling to release billions of dollars of worth assets belonging to Afghanistan central bank despite increasing calls from humanitariangroups and other actors that foresee an impending national economic collapse since most of Afghan central bank’s $10 billion in assets are parked overseas.

Any unfreezing of these assets may be months away, according to financial experts. However, diplomatic circles think that Washington’s recalcitrance towards releasing the assets is a pressure tactic on the ‘ultra-Islamic rulers’ to revive and respect women’s rights and the rule of law that were in vogue before 15August 2021. ‘The rejoicing mood of militant Taliban roughs that were seen during the first fortnight of new regime is now evanescent’, informed a professor of Kabul University, who returned to India recently.

The Taliban brass are on pins and needles over an unprecedented food

JUSTINPRINT [ ] November 1-15, 2021

crisis. The food prices have skyrocketed by about nearly 50 per cent , while petrol by as much as 75 per cent until mid- October , according to media reports. According to a report, locals in Taloqan, the capital of Takhar province, took to the streets to protest against the risingpovertyrate in Afghanistan. Locals have been asking the Taliban government to bring back stability in the countryand help them in battling the rising unemployment and poverty rate.

The U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator inAfghanistan RamizAlakbarov has said recently that at least one-third ofAfghanistan’s populationdoes not know how long theywill have to deal with food insecurity. U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator said government services are struggling to maintain their operations and public employees are not getting their salaries.

The World Food Program’s food stocks inAfghanistan were emptied by early October when one out three people are hungry in the country, according to a WFPofficial.”We will not be able to provide those essential food items because we’ll be out of stocks, and for usto keep thecurrent demand, we need at least $200 million only for the food sector, to be able to provide the food to the most vulnerable,” stated an worried Alakbarov at a recent press meet in
Kabul. The situation continues to be extremely tense’, he added

Nonetheless, the misogynist stance of the Taliban remains unchanged. Immediately after the Taliban took over the command in Kabul, women’s rights have been quashed. The ‘Second Sex’ are being mandated what to wear and what to study, while being segregated from men at universities. True, following a violent crackdown on female protesters, scattered and sporadic demonstrations took place in Kabul and around but they were forced to be silenced and become deemed supportive of the Taliban’s ultra- hardline interpretation of Islam at gunpoint. Which is why the American pressure tactic offreezing assets ‘are very much needed’, opine many academics.

Tragically enough, although images of the sweeping but scrambled evacuation operation in Kabul made headlines around the world, almost least reported is the fate of the tens of thousands of men, women and children, some from ethnic minorities, who fled on foot. The decision to flee is not an easy one: refugees often have little to no rights and a poor quality of life.

Extensive blackouts are another irritating feature as the Taliban government has not been able to pay electricity bills to neighbouring countries, giving rise to fears that a
complete blackout in the country might not be too far.

The hard-line Islamic leaders bank heavily on China and Pakistan in fulfilling their expectation of diplomatic recognition, followed by global humanitarian aid to face up to the crisis. The response albeit faint and slow is felt. The UN Development Programme’s administrator Achim Steiner, informed Germany as a first contributor, had pledged € 50 milion ($58m) to the fund, and that it was intouch with other donors to mobilise resources.

The UNDP had estimated the cost of activities to be covered over the first 12 months at approximately
$667m, disclosed Kanni Wignaraja, director of UNDP’s regional bureau for the Asia Pacific region Furthermore, cash will be provided to Afghans employed in public works programmes, such as drought and flood-control programmes, and grants given to micro-enterprises. A temporary basic income will be paid to vulnerable Afghans, she said.“What we are witnessing is not only a nation and a country in the midst of political turmoil; what we are also witnessing is an economic implosion. We have to step in, we have to stabilise a ‘people’s economy’ and, in addition to saving lives, we also have to save livelihoods,”stated Steiner at anews conference in Geneva.

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