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Amid steep price rise, locals in Afghanistan left with little cash in hand

The Afghanistan saga

The plight of the people of Afghanistan has multiplied as they are left with little money in their hands. Banks have also gone dry with the locals withdrawing “whatever cash” was available. Besides, the devaluation of the Afghan—the currency of Afghanistan – has led to steep price hikes and massive supply constraints.

For many essential food items prices have risen over 10-20 times in just the last few days. Some shopkeepers are charging even more.

With uncertainty rising, people have resorted to hoarding cash. Further as the US decided to freeze $9.5 billion reserves that the country has in overseas accounts, Da Afghanistan Bank – the country’s Central bank has been unable to provide dollars too at a crucial time. That part several bank branches have shut down.

Also read: Biden says Aug 31 deadline to leave Kabul will be extended if US nationals are still not evacuated

DAB’s acting governor Ajmal Ahmady, who fled the country, said that the central bank has been dependent on physical shipment of cash, which took place “every few weeks.”

“The amount of such cash remaining is close to zero due to stoppage of shipments as the security situation deteriorated, especially during the last few days,” Ahmady said.

An analyst said that many have had to resort to a “barter system” to be able to procure the daily essentials.

Needless to say, the poor will be the worst impacted.

“It is heart wrenching as many of the locals are begging for money and food. Some of them are willing to sell off their personal belongings or the traditional handicraft that they produce or even fruits and other food items at throw away prices,” an Indian citizen who has been in the country told India Narrative.

With the freezing of overseas bank accounts, remittances have thinned down adding to the misery.

An NBC report said that Western Union has announced that it is suspending money transfer services to Afghanistan “until further notice.”

Also read: Regional powers drive Afghan diplomacy as Washington’s star fades

“Members of the Afghan diaspora are finding it more difficult to send money and get cash into their loved ones’ hands,” the report said, adding that many Afghans do not have access to bank accounts. They are typically dependent on cash remittances from relatives and friends abroad.

The uncertainty has led to widespread corruption and anarchy. While the world is closely watching the saga unfold in the country, the local people continue to live in misery.