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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Taliban officials are preparing a new Afghan budget without the assistance of Western donors

Afghan Finance Ministry under the new Taliban administration has created a draught national budget that will be supported entirely by domestic resources for the first time in more than two decades, according to a spokesperson for the ministry.

It comes at a time when the nation is engulfed in economic disaster and is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe that the United Nations has dubbed a “avalanche of famine.”

Ahmad Wali Haqmal, a spokesperson for the finance ministry, did not divulge the amount of the proposed budget, which runs through December 2022, but he did say that it will be submitted to the cabinet for approval before being released.

“We are attempting to fund it from our domestic earnings — and we think we will be able to,” he said earlier in an interview broadcast on state television and uploaded on Twitter.

When the Taliban took control in August, international donors withdrew their financial assistance, and Western nations withdrew access to billions of dollars in assets stored in other countries.

The previous administration’s budget for 2021, which was prepared under IMF direction, predicted a deficit despite receiving 219 billion Afghanis in assistance and grants and 217 billion from local sources.

In 2011, the Afghani to the US dollar exchange rate was about 80, but the local currency has been battered since the Taliban’s return, notably in the last week, with the local currency falling to 130 on Monday before rebounding to approximately 100 on Friday.

Haqmal acknowledged that public employees were still owed several months’ salary, but said that “we are doing all we can” to make up for the shortfall before the end of the year.

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