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News > U.S.

Afghans Preparing for Eid Al-fitr Celebration Amid US Sanctions

  • A street market in Afghanistan, April 20, 2023.

    A street market in Afghanistan, April 20, 2023. | Photo: Xinhua

Published 20 April 2023

Humanitarian agencies hold that two-thirds of the Afghan population will need assistance in 2023.

In April, Afghans are getting ready to celebrate the end of the fast of Ramadan (Eid al-Fitr) amid increasing poverty caused by the U.S. sanctions.


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Traditionally, as part of their culture, the faithful Afghans buy fresh and dried fruits, cookies, confectioneries, and different kinds of dishes during the three-day Eid al-Fitr festival to mark the end of Ramadan.

However, aid agencies predicted that a record 28.3 million Afghans, which is around two-thirds of the population, will need humanitarian assistance in 2023, with 6 million of those already perilously close to famine.

"Prices are skyrocketing and people are living in extreme poverty. Businesses are flopping and few people can buy fresh and dry fruits for their Eid table," said Fazal Rahman, who was wandering in a Kabul market to buy sweets and fruits for the celebration.

"I was only able to buy chickpeas and some sweets. I wanted to buy pistachios and almonds but couldn't," Rahman said, adding that the U.S. sanctions had "seriously" impacted the price of commodities in Afghanistan.

Following the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces from the Asian country, Afghanistan's assets worth over US$9 billion were frozen by the United States as part of its sanctions on the new rulers of the war-torn country.

"My demand is to see Afghanistan money unfrozen, so as to create job opportunities and to improve living conditions," said Rahman, a father of seven.

Echoing his sentiments, Rustam, a 35-year-old fruit seller, said that the current economic problems have badly reduced people's purchasing power, and therefore their ability to decorate tables with fruits and sweets.

"The price of 1 kg of oranges is 150 afghani and the price of 1 kg of pears is 400 afghani. No one can afford to buy them. When a person can't buy a flat bread, how can they afford to buy fruit?," he said said, adding that "the economic situation of people has 100 percent worsened as a direct result of the sanctions."

Rustam also complained that he used to earn around 100,000 afghani during Ramadan in the past, but he has hardly earned 25,000 afghani this year.

Zahir Behzad, an economics researcher from the Technical Vocational Education and Training Authority of Afghanistan, said that the sanctions could be one of the main factors that have undermined people's purchasing power.

"Certainly, the sanctions have affected the banking system as investment companies and foreign investors have given up. They're not spending on development projects in Afghanistan, because they are facing problems depositing, withdrawing and transferring money," he said.

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