Feature: U.S. sanctions drag Afghan women back into poverty

BAMIYAN, Afghanistan, April 25– Bazaarcha-e-Hunar is a popular crafts market run by women in Bamiyan province. In the wake of U.S.- led forces defeat in Afghansitan and Taliban’s taking over of the country’s power last August, the U.S. government has frozen nearly 10 billion U.S. dollars assets of Afghanistan’s central bank, which has worsened the war-torn…

BAMIYAN, Afghanistan, April 25 (Xinhua) — Bazaarcha-e-Hunar is a popular crafts market run by women in Bamiyan province. Like every other business in Afghanistan, the bazaar is struggling.

The market selling handicrafts made by local women has been losing popularity as tourism has dwindled to almost nothing.

“The pandemic and political change have ruined my business,” trader Humira Ahmadi told Xinhua recently.

In the wake of U.S.-led forces defeat in Afghansitan and Taliban’s taking over of the country’s power last August, the U.S. government has frozen nearly 10 billion U.S. dollars assets of Afghanistan’s central bank, which has worsened the war-torn country’s already fragile economy.

U.S. president Joe Biden issued a decree in February, allocating 3.5 billion dollars of the frozen sum to the 9/11 victims’ families and earmarking another 3.5 billion dollars to humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan.

“I made up to 150,000 afghani (1,726 U.S. dollars) in past years. Now I am lucky to make 500 afghani each week currently,” Ahmadi said. “Before the political change 50 women worked here, nowadays there are only about 10 women. There used to be nearly 100 women’s associations in Bamiyan but now more than 500 women have lost their jobs and income,” Ahmadi said.

Sabira, a 25-year-old woman who sells handicrafts with her mother at the bazaar complained about the gloomy business.

“In the past, we had more tourists. People came from all over the world, but not now. Local people buy some of our products but it is not as good as before,” she said.

“The change in our business is obvious. We had more customers last year and the year before. Our business was lucrative and we could earn 1,000 to 5,000 afghani each day, but nowadays I find it hard to earn 200,” the handicraft seller said. Enditem

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