Balkh vendors see flourishing markets ahead of Eid al-Fitr

As Eid al-Fitr approaches, vendors in the Balkh province report a notable increase in market activity, though they note the crowds have not reached the levels seen in previous years.

In Mazar-e-Sharif, the provincial capital, vendors said their businesses typically see a surge during Eid, but the volume of shoppers has dwindled compared to past celebrations.

For some, the economic challenges have shifted their shopping habits toward public markets and street vendors, where Eid necessities are more affordable. Ghurbandi district, known for its bustling sales of boots and sandals, is among the crowded spots attracting bargain hunters.

Amruddin Sarwari, a former government employee who now sells footwear, shared his story: “It has been two years since I lost my job. We opened two shops to sell sandals and boots, which now provide for our daily expenses. However, due to the economic difficulties, our sales have fallen by 60% compared to last year.”

Despite a slight increase in sales ahead of Eid, vendors like Sarwari are facing fewer customers due to the ongoing economic decline and widespread poverty in Afghanistan.

Mohibullah, another vendor, highlighted their efforts to accommodate shoppers: “For Eid, we’ve cut prices by up to fifty percent. We offer a variety of sandals and boots from Iran, Pakistan, China, India, and local artisans. Eids and the New Year are usually our busiest times.”

Following the fall of the previous government, Afghanistan has experienced a severe humanitarian and economic crisis, with the United Nations reporting that nearly 85% of its population is living below the poverty line.