Afghanistan: Taliban begin paying salary to government workers

Afghanistan: Taliban begin paying salary to government workers

Most government employees are yet to return to work. Many were not paid for months even before the Taliban captured power.

Taliban said on Saturday that they had begun paying government employees who had not received paycheck since Taliban's rise to power.

Most government employees are yet to return to work. Many were not paid for months even before the Taliban captured power.

"We are going to start paying salaries from today. We will pay three months' salaries," Ahmad Wali Haqmal, spokesman for the finance ministry said at a press conference.

He said that salaries will be paid for period after August 23. Some government employees will be paid even for the month before the Taliban took power.

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The payment will be made through the country's banking system which Haqmal said had not been "paralysed" since the fall of the previous government.

"It just needs time to operate normally," he said.

The government employees will still be unable to access their full salaries.

Since August, Afghanistan's banking sector has collapsed, and those with money in the bank have struggled to access their funds as branches curtailed withdrawals to $200 to $400 a week.

The financial crunch was aggravated after Washington froze about $10 billion of assets held in its reserve for

Kabul and deteriorated further after the World Bank and International Monetary Fund halted Afghanistan's access to funding.

Foreign donors led by the United States provided more than 75 percent of the public expenditure under Afghanistan's previous 20-year Washington-backed government.

The rapidly worsening situation has forced Afghans to sell their household goods to raise money for food and other essentials with the local currency crashing and prices skyrocketing.

Meraj Mohammad Meraj, the spokesman for the government's revenue department, said the authorities were in a position to pay salaries after earning revenues of 26 billion Afghanis (around $277 million) in the past two and half months.

"Only 20 to 25 percent of the economy was operational... Not all sectors are currently operational," Meraj said at the press conference.

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