Taliban increase payment in wheat as economic crisis deepens

i24NEWS - AFP/Reuters

2 min read
Taliban fighters stand on the diving board over a swimming pool at the Wazir Akbar Khan hill in Kabul, Afghanistan, on January 10, 2022.
Mohd RASFAN / AFPTaliban fighters stand on the diving board over a swimming pool at the Wazir Akbar Khan hill in Kabul, Afghanistan, on January 10, 2022.

The plan already largely paid laborers in Kabul and will be expanded throughout the country

The Taliban administration said Tuesday it was expanding its "food for work" program, which uses donated wheat to pay thousands of public sector employees.

This comes as the financial crisis worsens in Afghanistan.

Some 40,000 workers are being paid roughly 22 pounds of wheat for five hours of work, agriculture officials told a news conference, according to Reuters.

"We are ready to help our people as much as we can," said Fazel Bari Fazli, deputy minister of administration and finance at the Agriculture Ministry. 

The plan already largely paid laborers in Kabul and will be expanded throughout the country. 

The Taliban administration has already received an additional 18 tons of wheat from Pakistan with a promise of 37 tons more and is in negotiation with India for 55 tons, according to Fazli.

"We have lots of plans for food for work program," he said.

International sanctions on Taliban members, frozen central bank assets, and the sudden drop-off in international assistance that once formed the backbone of the economy left the Taliban government with limited government finances and a growing economic crisis.

The United Nations said Tuesday it needed $4.4 billion in aid for Afghanistan in 2022 to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and offer the ravaged country a future after 40 years of suffering.

"A full-blown humanitarian catastrophe looms. My message is urgent: don't shut the door on the people of Afghanistan," said UN aid chief Martin Griffiths.

"Help us scale up and stave off wide-spread hunger, disease, malnutrition and ultimately death."

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