Kabul residents face soaring wood and coal prices

As winter sets in, residents in Kabul are grappling with a significant increase in the prices of fuel materials such as wood and coal, essential for heating homes.

In the past three months, the price of a 560-kilogram consignment of firewood has risen by 3,000 Afghanis ($42). This increase has made it difficult for many families, already struggling in the current economic climate, to afford these essential fuels.

Shopkeepers note that the price for the same amount of firewood has jumped to 9,600 Afghanis ($137) from 6,000 Afghanis ($42) three months ago. “There is an increase of almost 20 Afghanis per seven kilograms. Now, seven kilograms of wood costs 120 Afghanis,” explained Mirwais, a firewood seller in Kabul.

Similarly, coal prices have also surged with the onset of winter. The cost for a 560-kilogram consignment of coal now stands at 7,200 Afghanis ($108), up from 6,500 Afghanis ($93) before the winter season.

Many Kabul residents, like Faqir Mohammad, express their inability to buy enough fuel. “With eight people in my family, I can’t afford wood and coal,” he said. Nazarullah, another resident, shared his plight: “Earning only 50 to 100 Afghanis a day, I’ve never been able to buy coal.”

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid reports that over half of Afghanistan’s population needs aid. The United Nations has requested $3 billion to support needy families in Afghanistan.

Since August 2021, poverty levels in Afghanistan have soared, with the United Nations Development Program’s latest figures indicating that 85% of Afghan citizens are now living below the poverty line.