Taliban to start paying overdue salaries of government employees
The Taliban government in Afghanistan says it has begun paying the overdue salaries of all government employees who have not been paid since the group’s takeover of the country in August.
“We are going to start paying salaries from today. We will pay three months' salaries,” the Taliban Finance Ministry Spokesman Ahmad Wali Haqmal said at a press conference on Saturday. He said the payment will be made through the country's banking system.
According to Press TV, Haqmal said the government employees will be paid for the period starting August 23, noting that some will also be paid for the month before. He further claimed Afghanistan’s banking system had not been "paralyzed" since the fall of the previous government. "It just needs time to operate normally."
Meanwhile, Meraj Mohammad Meraj, the spokesman for the government's revenue department, explained that the authorities were now able to pay salaries after earning revenues of 26 billion Afghanis (around $277 million) in the past two and a half months. "Only 20 to 25 percent of the economy was operational... Not all sectors are currently operational," Meraj said, adding that the authorities will introduce a new Islamic tax to fund aid projects for poor people and orphans.
In a post on Twitter, another Taliban Spokesman, Inamullah Samangani, said the daily revenue collections of the Taliban government had been increasing daily, adding the payment of pensions of retired workers would also resume soon.
Most government employees have yet to return to work and many had not been paid for months even before the Taliban seized power, especially rural workers.
The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, took power again on August 15 as the US was in the middle of a chaotic troop withdrawal. The group announced the formation of a caretaker government on September 7. No country has yet recognized their rule. Since then, the Taliban are struggling to contain a deepening economic crisis.
War-ravaged Afghanistan also needs urgent international action to support millions of people struggling with rising hunger and the collapse of services. The Taliban's efforts to stabilize the situation have been undermined by international sanctions, as banks are running out of cash and civil servants are going unpaid.