Afghanistan: Taliban to pay three-month salaries to civil servants

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The Taliban government announced today that it will resume paying the salaries of civil servants who have been paid since the summer after the Islamists came to power, amid the economic crisis in Afghanistan.

“We will start paying salaries today,” Finance Ministry spokesman Ahmad Wali Hakmal told a news conference in Kabul.

The government will deposit three months ‘salary in civil servants’ accounts (from mid-August, when the Taliban came to power) and those who had not been paid for the previous month will be paid by the previous government. However, this does not mean that they will be able to withdraw money immediately, since, due to lack of liquidity, banks only give $ 200-400 per week per account. “The banking system is not paralyzed, it just needs time to function normally again,” Hackmal said.

Following the Taliban takeover, the United States froze about $ 9.5 billion of Afghanistan’s central bank and cut off international aid, which financed 75 percent of the country’s budget. The economy of Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, has collapsed. The government no longer had cash, the local currency, the Afghani, depreciated and commodity prices soared.

According to Meraj Mohammad Meraj, one of the directors of the ministry, the government can again pay the civil servants after collecting customs and tax duties from companies, amounting to 26 billion afghanis (about 227 million dollars) in the last two and a half months.

Meraj also announced that a zakat (Islamic charity, usually a percentage of his income) would be imposed to fund aid to the poor and orphans.

Pensions will be paid when the government’s IT servers reopen.

The Taliban are urging the international community to lift sanctions and resume international aid to prevent famine. According to the UN, Afghanistan is on the verge of a very serious humanitarian crisis and half the population may not have food this winter.

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