Taliban pay wheat instead of cash as economic crisis rages | world news
The Taliban administration said on Tuesday it was expanding its “food-for-work” program, in which it uses donated wheat to pay thousands of public sector workers instead of cash as the financial crisis deepens .
The wheat, largely donated by India to the previous U.S.-backed government in Kabul, is being used to pay 40,000 workers 10kg of wheat a day to work five hours a day, officials said. agriculture at a press conference.
The scheme, which has heavily paid laborers on public works programs in Kabul, will be rolled out across the country, they said.
“We are ready to help our people as much as possible,” said Fazel Bari Fazli, deputy minister of administration and finance at the agriculture ministry.
The Taliban administration has already received an additional 18 tonnes of wheat from Pakistan with a promise of 37 tonnes more and is negotiating with India for 55 tonnes, according to Fazli.
“We have a lot of plans for the food-for-work program,” he said. It was unclear how much of the donated wheat would be used as direct humanitarian aid and how much to pay workers in Afghanistan.
The expanding program underscores the growing conundrum facing the Taliban administration as cash in the country dries up and could raise questions among donors about the use of humanitarian aid for government purposes as strict restrictions remain on financial flows to the country.
UN agencies on Tuesday asked donors for $4.4 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan in 2022, calling the funds an “essential stopper” to secure the country’s future.
“A real humanitarian disaster is looming. My message is urgent: don’t close the door on the Afghan people,” said UN aid chief Martin Griffiths.