Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Afghan Economy Grapples with Challenges Under Taliban’s Rule

Since the Taliban took control in 2021, Afghanistan's economy has been facing formidable challenges, with over half of the population now living below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

Inflation has surged to a record high of 10.2% in January 2024, adding to the financial strain on citizens. Reports from the Taliban National Statistics and Information Authority indicate a significant drop in exports by $32.9 million and imports by $99.2 million between February and March 2024.

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One of the major setbacks for Afghanistan's economy is the sharp decline in coal exports, projected to plummet by 87% by 2024, as forecasted by the World Bank.

Unemployment has soared to alarming levels, exacerbating the economic woes outlined by the World Bank. Additionally, the country faces a staggering $3.5 billion trade deficit, driven by dwindling exports and rising imports.

Economist Azrakhsh Hafizi attributes part of Afghanistan's economic downturn to Pakistan's reluctance to export coal and engage in imports from Central Asia via Afghanistan.

Furthermore, the depreciation of the Afghan currency against major currencies worsens economic instability, with significant declines recorded against the US dollar, euro, Chinese yuan, Indian rupee, and Pakistani rupee.

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The decline in Pakistan's food exports from Afghanistan, along with an overall drop in exports by 76% in 2023, as reported by the State Bank of Pakistan, further exacerbates Afghanistan's economic challenges.

Moreover, a 50% reduction in electricity imports from Uzbekistan has led to electricity shortages in Afghanistan, as reported by Ariana News.

Border disputes have resulted in a sharp decrease in trade turnover between India and Afghanistan, while strained relations with neighboring countries, including Pakistan, India, Uzbekistan, Iran, Russia, and China, pose significant challenges to the Taliban regime.

Analysts attribute Afghanistan's dire economic situation to the Taliban's support of terrorist organizations, leading to increased terrorism in the region, according to Al Jazeera.

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Experts caution that instead of investing in improving citizens' lives, the Taliban regime is diverting resources to support organizations like ISIS-K and TTP, perpetuating terrorism in the region.

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