Balkh Residents Sell Their Home Appliances to Cope with Hunger

Many families in Mazar-e-Sharif are selling their household items to fight starvation as poverty rises in the province. Balkh residents, say they provide food for their children by selling home appliances. According to Mazar-e-Sharif residents, there are currently no more heavy clashes and explosions, but unemployment has made life difficult for them.

They call on the Taliban to save the Afghan people from starvation, providing job opportunities for the residents of the northern city. The home appliance retail market in Mazar-e-Sharif is booming these days.

Hamid Ullah, 27, has come to an appliance market to sell his furniture. He used to work for a private company in Balkh province, but now he is one of those Mazar-e-Sharif residents unable to do anything for a living. According to him, their office was closed a few days before Mazar-e-Sharif fell to the Taliban due to high-security threats.

“I can’t believe it, I cannot accept that I am selling my furniture today,” he said. “But I had to, ‘my heart is crying blood’. I bought these things with great enthusiasm and I wished for a prosperous life. I did not know this day would come.”

Hamid Ullah married his cousin two years ago. His wife also worked in the local government office in Balkh.

The young couple have not been paid for two months and don’t have the money to buy essentials. “We have not been paid for nearly two months and the Taliban don’t allow us to go to work,” said Maryam, Hamid Ullah’s wife. “We don’t know what to do next. Today we came to sell furniture and provide food with that money – we don’t what we do tomorrow.”

Appliance retailers in Mazar-e-Sharif confirms that their visitors have increased compared to the past. According to them, people willingly sell their belongings at half price or less because they don’t have the money to buy food.

Jawad runs a shop in the Mazar-e-Sharif’s appliance market. He says many families come to the market these days to sell items, but there are fewer purchases. “People bring all their belongings for sale,” says Jawad. “But buyers have little money and cannot buy many items at once.”

Mohammad Amin is another retailer of second-hand items in Mazar-e-Sharif. “These days, appliance sales are much higher than in the past,” Mohammad Amin told 8 am. “A lot of people want to sell their stuff for half the price or less to make some money as there is no hope for the future.”

According to Mohammad Amin, items worth 20,000 Afghanis in the market are sold here for 5,000 Afghanis. Meanwhile, some citizens are selling their necessities to fight hunger at half the price.

Malalai, a schoolteacher in Balkh province, said she had come to sell her TV and use its money for her family’s food. “We have nothing to eat at home, my children are hungry,” Malalai told 8 am. “I have come to sell this TV and buy food for them. We have to, what else can we do? The government does not pay our salaries either. We have no other choice.”

Some Mazar-e-Sharif residents say that although the province is now secure, the dramatic rise in the price of supplies is worrying. Mohammad Rasoul was displaced during the battles in the Kaldar district of Balkh province. He says that four decades of war have made them miserable and now the Taliban must work for the good of the country.

“Thank God the war is over, but poverty has put people under the same pressure,” Mohammad Rasoul states. “People don’t have food to eat. I call on the Taliban to create jobs so that we can get rid of this misery.”

About a month and a half have now passed since the fall of Balkh province to the Taliban. Balkh residents are no longer worried about their security, but the scarcity of food and fuel has worried them more than the war.