KABUL– After another miserable day, 11-year-old Alyas calls out at the top of his voice in a Kabul street.
As the sun sets, he takes his last opportunity to sell what remains of the melting ice cream in his cart.
“I’d rather be at school instead of selling ice cream on the street,” Alyas said.
Since last month, he and his elder brother have dropped out of school to work in the street.
However, their average income of less than 60 Afghanis a day looks like a drop in the bucket in face of rising prices.
As poverty and unemployment rise across the country, the number of beggars in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul grows every day.
Some 3 million Afghan children like Alyas have dropped out of school to earn money to support their families.
Mohammad Hassan Khan farms about 4 hectares in east Afghanistan’s Khost province.
Or he used to, but today there is no water for his fields, fertilizers must be imported and the prices are too high for anyone to afford — so he’s now a porter in the streets of the capital.
Afghanistan, which is in urgent need of post-war reconstruction, has been facing a worsening humanitarian crisis, economic depression and terrorist attacks since the takeover by the Taliban on Aug. 15 last year.
The United States, which hastily withdrew from Afghanistan in disregard of its responsibilities and obligations, deserves much blame for the mess it left behind.
“We reported late last year that an estimated 97 percent of Afghans could be living in poverty by mid-2022, and regrettably, that number is being reached faster than anticipated,” said head of the United Nations Development Programme Achim Steiner earlier this year.
Afghanistan is facing a non-reversible economic collapse. A frozen banking system and liquidity shortage mean as many as 80 percent of people are in debt.
Assets worth more than $9 billion have been frozen by the United States as part of its sanctions against the new government.
In addition, 20 years of war left severe shortages of infrastructure, power supplies and professionals.
According to Abdul Nasir Rishtia, chief executive of Afghanistan steel mills union, 5,000 steel mills in Afghanistan are facing a shortage of key technical personnel.
“The United States has brought death and blood to Afghans for 20 years. The tragedy they made here is still going on,” said Najibullah Jami, a professor at Kabul University. He blames the U.S. for the humanitarian crisis.
During the 20-year war, the United States chose to fight terrorism according to its own geopolitical goals, which led to an increase in the number of terrorist organizations in Afghanistan.
“If the interest of the United States requires, it will add any group in the list of terrorists and if its interest requires to exclude a group from the list, it will also do so,” said Abuzar Khapalwak Zazai, a professor from Kabul University.
He added that what the United States has left the Afghan people is a difficult position to get out of.
Since August last year, no major fighting has been reported in Afghanistan.
However, the Islamic State has launched dozens of attacks. In Kabul alone, there is a bomb attack every two or three days.
The Taliban-run administration has generally achieved stability national wide, but it is difficult to eradicate extremist and terrorist groups. – Xinhua