The Taliban has announced that its “food for work” program, in which donated wheat is used to pay tens of thousands of government workers, will be expanded.
It comes as the UN has requested $4.4 billion (£3.2 billion) in humanitarian help for Afghanistan. The money is needed this year, according to the UN, because more than half of the country’s population is in need. Since the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan in August, the country’s economic and humanitarian crises have worsened.
The Taliban’s newest announcement highlighted the country’s financial problems.
It could also raise concerns among donors about the Taliban’s use of humanitarian help to sustain their administration, despite the fact that rigorous controls on money entering Afghanistan remain in place. Despite the Taliban’s control, some humanitarian aid has persisted as international governments try to save millions of Afghans from starving.
However, international organizations provide the majority of the assistance, circumventing the Afghan government.
According to the country’s agriculture exports, wheat that was largely provided by India to the previous US-backed Afghan government is now being used by the Taliban to pay roughly 40,000 workers 10 kg of wheat every day.
They stated that the scheme, which had previously only been used to pay laborers in Kabul, will be expanded across the country.
According to Fazel Bari Fazli, deputy minister of administration and finance at Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, the Taliban has already received 18 tonnes of wheat from Pakistan with a promise of another 37 tonnes and is in talks with India over another 55 tonnes.
He did not specify how much of the newly donated wheat would be utilized to pay workers and how much would go to humanitarian help.
A number of key difficulties have hurt the country’s finances in recent months, including the imposition of sanctions on Taliban members, the freezing of the central bank’s assets, and the suspension of foreign aid, which had been supporting the economy until last year.
A UN appeal for $4.4 billion in humanitarian help for Afghanistan was also launched on Tuesday.
“We enter 2022 with record levels of need among Afghanistan’s ordinary women, men, and children. More than half of the population, 24.4 million people, are in need of humanitarian assistance “According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
In addition to a litany of issues, Afghanistan is currently experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades, according to the UN. Meanwhile, the Biden administration announced that it will deliver an extra $308 million in humanitarian relief to Afghans. Since October, the US has spent about $782 million on Afghanistan and Afghan refugees in the region.
The aid was intended to help people suffering from the virus, as well as “drought, hunger, and the winter season,” according to the White House.