Kabul vendors struggle under Taliban-run municipality

KABUL, Afghanistan – Kabul’s street vendors are voicing their struggles with the city’s municipality, now under Taliban control, amidst declining sales and increasing operational challenges.

These vendors are expressing frustration over what they describe as mistreatment and monetary demands by Taliban members.

The shift to Taliban rule, marked by repressive policies, has plunged millions of Afghans into uncertainty and elevated unemployment rates. Consequently, many Kabul residents have turned to labor and street vending for income.

Nisar Ahmad, a local vendor, shared his financial burdens. “The sales are not good in general. I pay 1,400 Afghanis ($19) for the wheelbarrow-stall. I have eight children,” he said.

In addition to financial strains, vendors are decrying physical abuse. “The Kabul municipality [under Taliban control] comes and beats us and collects our wheelbarrows,” stated Abdul, another vendor.

Obaid, also a vendor, lamented the daily disruptions. “The business is not good. We earn very little, but the municipality doesn’t allow us to work. They come and disturb us every day,” he said.

The declining sales are attributed by vendors to the reduced purchasing power of customers. This economic downturn is exacerbated by the Taliban’s restrictions on women’s work, contributing to the country’s deepening financial crisis. The United Nations reports that 85 percent of Afghanistan’s population now lives below the poverty line, highlighting the severe economic challenges faced by the nation.