Many government employees have not been paid since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on August 15. Earlier this month, the Taliban Government’s Administrative Office issued a letter to civil departments ordering the suspension of staff salaries. The letter stated that the public servants’ salaries should be suspended until “the salary structure is amended by the board of directors”. After that, although officials in the Taliban-led government first announced the finalization of the new payroll procedure and then the payment of three months’ salary to the employees, this decision has not yet been implemented. Families whose breadwinners work in government offices have been struggling with poverty for months.
However, with the fall of the former regime, the operations of various institutions and sectors have been challenged. Government departments are semi-active, and in some cases, inactive. The banking system is in danger of collapsing. Assistance from international aid agencies has been cut. Poverty is spreading, and many people have no food to eat and no place to take refuge. Given this situation, the Taliban-led government has no right to suspend staff salaries and use its implementation as an excuse.
The situation is such that both unemployed and employed people are not able to provide necessities of life. Unemployed people are victims of the general situation in the country, and government employees are victims of the sick bureaucracy that has ruled civilian administrations since the Taliban came to power. The consequence of this situation is a helpless and poor society. The purchasing power of the people – employed and unemployed – has reached zero, and the business and labor cycle has stopped moving. The Taliban are responsible for this situation, whether they accept it or not.
If the situation continues like this, the people of Afghanistan will witness the most terrible humanitarian catastrophe in the coming winter. In winter, it is not only poverty, insecurity, and hunger that threaten people’s lives, but also deadly cold. The cold plague in Afghanistan’s cold provinces is likely to claim many lives.
However, the ruling Taliban government has no right and should not delay paying the salaries of its employees anymore. Given the capability of the banks, even with the implementation of salaries, it takes weeks for employees to earn their money and use it to provide food and winter fuel. Therefore, a one-day delay in earning a living also endangers the lives of many people.
The Taliban, as the ruling group in Afghanistan, are responsible for the lives of the people. They must pay attention to their responsibilities to the people and the provision of services to the citizens. Poverty can be reduced and eliminated by a mechanism. Furthermore, to prevent a human catastrophe, a proper and humane action plan is needed. Ignoring the facts and escaping responsibility will lead the country to a more catastrophic situation. Prominent signs of this catastrophe can be seen in different parts of the country. The Taliban should not turn a blind eye to these signs and leave the people unprotected.