The United Nations has warned that Afghanistan could face a food crisis within a month, leaving one out of three people hungry, as the country’s Taliban rulers try to form a new government to run the country.
“The situation in Afghanistan from a humanitarian perspective continues to be extremely tense,” Ramiz Alakbarov, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan, said on Wednesday, adding that more than half of the children in the country are already struggling to find the next meal.
Al Jazeera has learned that in recent days food prices in Afghanistan have increased by about 50 percent, while petrol has increased as much as 75 percent.
With most of the international aid shut, Alakbarov pointed out that government services cannot function and public employees are unable to receive their salaries.
The Taliban has yet to form a new government, and their international recognition remains in question, preventing the resumption of foreign aid.
Earlier on Wednesday, the group paraded in Kandahar some of the military hardware, including Humvees and armoured fighting vehicles they captured during their takeover of Afghanistan.
At least one Black Hawk helicopter has also been reported flying over Kandahar in recent days, suggesting someone from the former Afghan army was at the controls as the Taliban lacks pilots, according to the AFP news agency.
Meanwhile, a Qatar Airways flight has landed in Kabul carrying a team that would help get the airport running again as a lifeline for aid.
Here are the latest updates:
Situation in Afghanistan is dire: ex-US Treasury official
The former US Treasury financial attache to Kabul has blamed the Taliban for the “dire” situation in Afghanistan, saying that their “violent takeover” of the country resulted in the current economic crunch.
“The situation in Afghanistan is quite dire right now. Even before this crisis, many Afghans were already living well below the poverty line,” Alex Zerden told Al Jazeera.
“The situation we are in today is directly caused by the Taliban withdrawing from peaceful negotiations…and engaging in the violent takeover of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, there are terrible consequences for their misguided actions.”
Taliban wrestle with Afghan economy in chaos, humanitarian crisis
Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers are struggling to keep the country functioning after the final withdrawal of US forces, according to Reuters news agency, with foreign donors alarmed about an impending humanitarian crisis.
Prices have soared and crowds have gathered at banks to withdraw cash.
The new, Taliban-appointed central bank head, Haji Mohammad Idris, has sought to reassure banks the group wants a fully functioning financial system, but has so far given little detail on how it will supply funds for it, bankers familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The Taliban have ordered banks to reopen, but strict weekly limits on withdrawals have been imposed.
Fears raised for safety of Hazaras after Taliban takeover
The safety of Afghanistan’s minority Hazara community could be in jeopardy following the takeover of the Taliban group in the country.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Abdul Ghafoor, director of Afghanistan Migrants Advice and Support Organization, revealed that at least 14 Hazaras were killed after they surrendered to the Taliban in Daikundi province.
“There’s no amnesty for no one to be honest with you. They are going after the journalists, they are going after the activists, after the people who were in the government,” he said.
I discussed the killing of 14 #Hazaras on @AJEnglish, who had surrendered to Taliban in Daikundi province but were still killed by the Taliban. Full video in the first comment . pic.twitter.com/A2R656STnc
— abdul ghafoor (@ghafoorazad) September 1, 2021
Influential US legislator says recognition of Taliban possible
Gregory Meeks, the Democratic chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he would not rule out recognising a Taliban-led government in the future, but he stressed that the group must live up to its commitments to respect human rights.
Speaking to MSNBC, Meeks said relations with the Vietnamese government were once thought impossible after the US withdrawal from the country, but Washington now enjoys warm ties with Hanoi.
“So you never say never, but there’s a lot that the Taliban has to do to show that they’re going to really uphold the principles of … human rights,” Meeks said.
US looking at land routes to continue evacuations
The United States is exploring ways to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies looking to leave Afghanistan, including via land routes, US officials said.
US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said the Biden administration is engaged in “ongoing intensive diplomatic work” to help US citizens and Afghan allies wishing to leave Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
“We are looking at all possible options – air routes, land routes to continue to find ways for them to help evacuate and to support them in that,” she said.