Life As Usual In Kabul Despite Uncertainties — Malaysian Ngo

Life As Usual In Kabul Despite Uncertainties  — Malaysian Ngo

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 (NNN-Bernama) — Though many shops and buildings remain shut over safety concerns, the streets in Kabul appear busy with the locals going on with their routines – and women can still be seen outdoors.

This is the observation made by volunteers of Global Peace Mission Malaysia (GPM) who are on an emergency humanitarian mission in Afghanistan.

Deputy Chef de Mission of GPM Syahrir Azfar Saleh said though life appears to be going on as usual, locals remain concerned about the uncertainties their nation is facing after the United States withdrew its troops at the end of August and the Taliban returned to power.

Though many in Afghanistan seem happy that the US had quit their country and its own people could now decide on the country’s destiny, they are in dire need of daily necessities as access to food supply and cash is becoming scarce and their purchasing power is decreasing.

“People are out of money, some even not being paid salaries for the past three to four months. Some may have their salary cut (to) more than fifty per cent.

On Aug 28, the country’s central bank Da Afghanistan Bank issued an order for banks in the country to limit withdrawals to US$200 (20,000 afghani) per customer per week, adding to the misery of the cash strapped locals.

“People are hoping the government can buck up and do what is necessary to contain the problem and prioritise the economic revival,” he added.

 “This problem may not be good in the long run. People will get tired, they need food on the table and the assurance that the future will be promising to them,” he told Bernama.

On fears that the return of the Taliban rule will put an end to women’s rights in the country, Syahrir Azfar observed that women are still allowed outside so far and are not forced to cover themselves with niqab.

 “We can still see that women are allowed to work during our visit to a private university in Kabul, though they are still not allowed to work with the government,” he said.

“We hope this is just temporary and looking forward to a more inclusive administration of the government,” he said.

Syahrir and five other activists – two from GPM and three from Muslim Volunteer Malaysia (MVM) – are currently in Kabul to provide humanitarian aid to the people in Afghanistan. The first humanitarian team from Malaysia to enter Kabul since the Taliban takeover, they arrived in Kabul by air from Islamabad on Sept 24.

“Our main objectives are, apart from fact finding on the actual situation in Afghanistan, is to deliver emergency humanitarian assistance to the affected people of Afghanistan,” he said.

He said the assistance distributed to the needy include staple food supplies and non-food items.

 “Although there is no official government as yet, looking at the current situation, everything seems under control. There is no curfew imposed, but the team is advised to stay inside after sunset,” he said.

He also said the team did not face any blockade from the military in carrying out their work so far, and that the GPM will continue to observe and assess the situation on the ground, especially on security.

He also added that in the long run, GPM and MVM are looking at the possibilities of establishing projects on education support and clean water supply to areas most affected and in need, as well as projects to empower women.

He said Malaysians can donate to support GPM’s initiative via

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan on Aug 15 as the US withdrew its troops from the country. As the Taliban advanced, former president Ashraf Ghani left the country.

This is the second time the Taliban rule the country in 20 years. The first was from 1996 to 2001, until it was ousted by the US-led forces in 2001.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres had also said the world need to engage the Taliban and provide humanitarian aid to the Afghan people in order to avoid humanitarian catastrophe and an economic meltdown.


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