In Taliban ruled Afghanistan, businesses owned by women struggle to survive; families face economic crisis

Many businesses and shops owned and run by women in Kabul, the Afghan capital, are closing their operations amid harsh economic conditions and an oppressive atmosphere with the return of the Taliban in Kabul, media reports say

Sep 22, 2021
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Taliban ruled Afghanistan, businesses owned by women

Many businesses and shops owned and run by women in Kabul, the Afghan capital, are closing their operations amid harsh economic conditions and an oppressive atmosphere with the return of the Taliban in Kabul, media reports say. 

In the last two decades, thousands of women invested and started their own small and medium businesses in Kabul with the freedom and liberty they gained after the Taliban government fell in 2001. However, after twenty years, these dreams and aspirations are once again crashing down right in front of them. Taliban returned to Kabul on 15 August this year and they fear those dark days. 

Among these women is Niki Tabasum, who started her own cafe in Kabul by investing around $11,000. All of the staff in the cafe were women. Ever since the Taliban's return last month, the cafe hasn’t opened and all women who worked there are now jobless. She has been trying since the last month to withdraw $225 from the bank-- the amount allowed by the Taliban to withdraw in a week. 

“Women are the breadwinners for some families, so these families are facing economic and financial problems,” she was quoted as saying by TOLO news. They (employees) have families to feed, she said. Women should be allowed to work opportunities. 

Noor-ul-Haq Omari, who is head of the Union of Kabul Workers, said businesses led by women suffered a heavy blow in the last month. “Investments led by women have unfortunately stopped. They lost their jobs and funds,” he said, adding many women sold their company’s expensive things at a very low price.

Since the Taliban takeover in the country, thousands of women have been protesting, demanding their rights and representation in the government. So far, the Taliban hasn’t done anything except giving plain and empty assurances. 

Recently, women employees of the Kabul Municipality have been asked not to return to work. The Taliban-appointed new mayor said the only job that he could offer to women is to clean women's toilets.

The situation has been the same more or less in other government offices across the country. Female workers are being turned away from their offices and asked not to come back. The Taliban recently also abolished the women’s ministry.