Report says crisis in Afghanistan causes massive job loss
BANGKOK – More than half a million people in Afghanistan have lost their jobs since the Taliban took over in mid-August, the International Labor Organization said in a report released Wednesday.
The ILO says the crisis has crippled the economy and adversely affected the labor market. The situation is particularly dire for women and those in agriculture, government positions, social services and construction, with many losing their jobs or receiving no pay.
Many companies find it difficult to stay afloat, as thousands of Afghans flee the country every day. According to the ILO report, the United Nations agency working to promote decent work and labor standards for all is likely to lose between 700,000 and 900,000 jobs by June as jobs become scarce. less than.
The economic downturn from the takeover was huge, with cash shortages and limits on withdrawals from banks putting both companies and individuals in jeopardy.
The economy has gone downhill after four decades of wars, severe droughts and pandemics. After the Taliban took power amid a chaotic withdrawal of US and NATO troops, the international community froze Afghanistan’s assets abroad and halted all funding, unwilling to work with a Taliban government. known for his brutality during his rule 20 years ago.
“The situation in Afghanistan is critical and immediate assistance is needed for stabilization and recovery,” said Ramin Behzad, ILO senior coordinator for Afghanistan.
“While the priority is to meet immediate humanitarian needs, long-term and inclusive recovery will depend on people and communities having access to jobs, livelihoods and services,” he said. basic”.
Women hold a fifth of jobs in Afghanistan by 2020, but are currently prevented from working in some sectors. Education for girls is also limited, although Taliban leaders have said they hope to open all schools for girls across the country after the end of March.
The ILO report is the latest call for international assistance to the people of Afghanistan, as the United Nations warns 8.7 million Afghans are on the brink of starvation.
Last week, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres called on the international community to fund a $5 billion humanitarian appeal, free Afghanistan’s frozen assets and kick-start the banking system to prevent economic and social collapse.
The ILO report estimates that female employment fell 16% in July-September, compared with what it would have been without the Taliban takeover. It said the decline in men was 5%.
While the difficulty is serious, it shows that most women who have gone to work still have their jobs, working in airports, customs, health and education and many other places.
Women’s rights have improved markedly during two decades of international presence in Afghanistan, but are seen as being threatened with the return of the Taliban, whose previous rule in the 1990s made them mostly as intact.
The ILO report notes that worsening working conditions could also lead to greater use of child labor in a country where more than 1 million children aged 5-17 are working.
Many children don’t go to school or work – only four out of 10 children are in school according to a survey conducted in 2019-2020.
UN agencies are working with Afghan companies and trade unions to try to provide vital support and sustain community services, the report said.