Taliban approve budget without international aid: ‘A big achievement for us’

In Afghanistan, the Taliban approved the first budget since their return to power in August. “For the first time in two decades, we succeeded without international aid. This is a great achievement for us,” said spokesman Ahmad Wali Haqmal.

Since the Islamists came to power, international lenders have suspended massive aid. Previously, it made up 80 percent of the Afghan budget. The approved budget, worth 450 million euros converted, applies only to the first quarter of 2022 and is almost entirely devoted to operational public expenditure.

The Taliban have decided that the fiscal year will henceforth be based on the solar calendar, which normally starts on March 21. The next budget, which Haqmal says is in preparation, will be submitted after that date.

“Women will be paid”

“Almost the entire budget is earmarked for daily government expenditure, such as salaries,” the spokesman said. “All officials who returned to work after August 15 will be paid, as will the Taliban fighters who have joined the security forces since then.”

The severe liquidity crisis caused by the suspension of international aid has left most government employees unpaid for months. Most female civil servants are also not allowed to work yet. But they too will be paid, Haqmal assures.

“We didn’t fire them,” he explained. “So we still see them as employees.” All the money comes from our own resources, just think of customs, income taxes, and revenues from ministries such as mining.

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