Kabul Flea Markets Remain Busy

It has been nearly two years since the Taliban overthrew the republic, yet the secondhand market in the city remains active. Kabul inhabitants are still leaving the country in succession. In addition to emigration, poverty has kept the secondhand market bustling. The Afghan economy has been decimated under the Taliban‘s rule, leaving thousands of people unemployed. Many families have been forced to sell their possessions in order to purchase food due to a lack of income and the difficulty of sustaining themselves. Recently, the Taliban passed laws prohibiting women from working in both domestic and international institutions, causing the country‘s citizens to flee their homes once again. Nowadays, many of the people who purchase appliances from secondhand shops are either retirees whose salaries were not paid by the Taliban and who had to sell their belongings out of necessity or individuals who lost their jobs after the Taliban took control of the country and chose to depart.

Faqir Ahmed, aged 63, was one of the elderly people who attended the flea market in Kabul‘s Area 315 to sell household items. He had brought a seemingly brandnew carpet to sell. After a lengthy discussion, a deal was struck once both parties had calculated their expenses. Faqir Ahmed spoke louder, saying,I wouldn‘t sell the carpet in my home even if I was paid my salary. I need to sell it now in order to buy food.”

In an interview with HashteSubh, Faqir Ahmad expressed his discontent with having to sell his carpet for only 4,500 AFN, despite claiming it was worth at least 10,000 AFN. He further elaborated that he had worked for the government for many years, during which money was withdrawn from his pay, yet he and his family now struggle to find even a piece of dry bread.

Shabir Ahmed arrived at the secondhand store with a car full of household items, ready to sell them for the lowest price. He stated that he had brought all the items for sale and parked his car close to one of the shops. He appeared to be in a hurry, so he did not bargain much. Shabir Ahmad accepted the secondhand dealer‘s offer to visit his home and buy all of his furniture, likely due to his need to emigrate and his financial situation.

I introduced myself to Shabir Ahmad and engaged him in a brief conversation. Prior to recently, both Shabir Ahmad and his wife had jobs; however, neither of them do now. This couple had to emigrate due to their inability to make a sufficient living and the fact that they were unable to send their children to school.

Shabir Ahmad was employed at a private university, and his wife Marzieh was also employed there. However, due to a decree prohibiting women from working in institutions, Marzieh lost her job and was prevented from teaching. Furthermore, the decree also prohibited Shabir Ahmad‘s daughters from receiving an education. Shabir Ahmad expressed his concern that if the situation does not improve, the university‘s activities may cease in the spring semester, and he himself may be dismissed. As a result, the family has decided to relocate to Iran so that their children can continue to receive an education.

Thousands of Afghans have migrated as a result of the Taliban‘s takeover of the country and the subsequent imposition of stringent restrictions. Those who have remained in the country are also facing difficulties in surviving due to unemployment and poverty. The majority of organizations have ceased operations as a result of the ongoing economic crisis in the country. Most recently, private universities in the country have warned that they may have to suspend operations due to a lack of students and the prohibition of girls education. Additionally, the Taliban have not formulated a clear plan to address the financial hardship in Afghanistan.